News & Announcements

Centenary College Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the First Year Experience Program

07/23/2013, 11:33 AM

Hackettstown, N.J. – First year students are provided the support to flourish at Centenary College through the First Year Experience program (FYE).  Entering its 10th year, FYE was designed to help new students become acclimated to college.

“The development of this program has helped countless students bridge the gap between high school and college,” says Joshua Walker, First Year Experience Coordinator at Centenary College.  “Centenary students are well-equipped with the resources that they need for success and the best college experience that they can have as a result of this program.”

When Centenary students enter their first year, they are enrolled in an Academic Foundations Course (AFC), with the particular class dependent on their major.  Designed to engage students about content related to their chosen field of study, classes have unusual titles such as “Reality or Fiction” for Sociology majors.  This year, undecided majors will be enrolled in a course called “Mass Media Connection in an Undecided World.”  Professors serve as students’ advisor for the year, and each class will have a First Year Leader (FYL), an upperclassmen that will further aid them in their academic journey. FYLs serve as mentors, friends and informative sources for incoming students.  They play an integral role in managing the College’s Orientation Week and Fresh Start event designed for the new student.

Paige Norman, a senior Education student from Philipsburg, says a highlight of her time as a FYL was the work that she did that helped more than half a class of 18 undecided students declare their majors at the end of their first semester.

“There were a lot of activities in that AFC class that focused on the emphasis of different areas of study and the various careers that correspond with those majors,” says Norman.  “It was so satisfying to see that my work had such an impact on so many students.”

First Year Leaders are selected through a stringent interview process and must be recommended for the position.  The interview process is a three-step opportunity, which includes a group activity, an interview with a small group of FYLs and then a final interview with Centenary administrators. 

If selected, students are required to help facilitate two classes per week, plus manage two programs per month.  The bi-monthly programs are designed to bring the first year students together and engage them in campus activities and their community in general.  Some program examples are attending the College’s Involvement Fair and a community service painting activity, or even attending a baseball game at no cost. FYLs are also on call 24/7 to help students get through any difficulties adjusting to that first year.

Samantha Davis, a senior Fashion Design major from Medford, credits her involvement as a FYL to her other current positions with the College, such as Student Life work-study, Admissions Tour Guide and upcoming responsibility as Student Government Association President in the fall.

“My academic journey has been so rewarding because of my experience being a FYL,” says Davis.  “I determined that my professional goal is to become a Dean of Students at a College.  I would have never been exposed to the notion of pursuing that career, if it weren’t for my involvement.”

The administration is so committed to providing Centenary students with the tools they need for a successful academic career that, this year, a Second Year Experience program has been introduced.  Similar to the First Year Experience program, it was created to continue to engage students throughout their second year at the College. Ten Second Year Peers are available to act as mentors and provide guidance to those who are interested in meeting with them about various topics, such as strengthening leadership skills and tips for building a resumé.

“These programs are the best marketing strategy for Centenary College,” says Centenary History and Education major and new FYL Quinn Khouri, who is a sophomore from Maryland.  “What a brilliant way to build and maintain a solid connection between students, faculty and staff.”

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary
College is an independent, coeducational liberal arts and career studies college
distinguished by an accomplished faculty, small class size and diverse student body.  Centenary is the only baccalaureate and master’s degree granting institution in northwest
New Jersey.

Centenary College’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County).  The Centenary College School of Professional Studies program offers accelerated degree completion programs in Parsippany, with an additional facility in Edison, and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.  Centenary College’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County).  The Centenary College School of Professional Studies offers degree programs online and in two locations: Parsippany and Edison, and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.  The School of International Programs recruits international students for study at Centenary and Centenary students for study abroad.