First Year Experience

  • By choosing to pursue your studies at Lang, you will benefit from the closeness of a liberal arts college, the resources of a larger university, and the endless possibilities of New York City. To help you navigate these opportunities and the challenges that come along with them, academic advisors, faculty advisors, and first-year fellows are available to assist you with your transition to college life and studies. Though your first year holds excitement and promise, you might also experience challenges such as homesickness, finding new friends, and figuring out the city. Feel free to speak with your academic advisor, your faculty advisor, or your first-year fellow for support and also read these tips on transitioning to college and city life (PDF).

    First Year Curriculum

    Your first semester of college can be a challenging one. So much will be new and unfamiliar: new living arrangements, a new community of students, increased responsibilities, greater academic expectations. Lang’s first-year seminars/workshops and writing courses provide incoming students with the support and guidance vital to their overall academic success. We encourage you to explore new intellectual realms by taking a broad range of liberal arts courses during your first year at Lang. Try leaving your comfort zone and choose topics you wouldn't ordinarily decide to study. You’ll have enough time to focus on a specific major or minor, so allow yourself this time for exploration.

    As a first-year student you should complete 30 credits during your first two semesters, including the three required courses listed below. First-year students starting in the spring semester should consult with an academic advisor about fulfilling these requirements.

    Required Courses for First-Year Students:

    First-Year Seminar

    Your first-year seminar is taught by a professor who serves as your faculty advisor during your freshman year at Lang. These seminars draw upon professors’ expertise in particular areas and topics, but they are all designed to be useful and accessible for students across a wide range of interests and academic goals. The seminars also offer you the opportunity to engage in intense discussions with your classmates, developing the skills to grapple with challenging material and diverse perspectives in your other courses as well.

    Every fourth class session of the first-year seminar is a workshop led by your first-year fellow. These workshops are designed to help students develop good study habits, academic planning and time management skills, critical thinking abilities and seminar discussion techniques, and personal health and safety awareness. 

    First-Year Writing

    All first-year students are required to complete two topic-based courses in expository writing, Writing the Essay I and II. Writing the Essay I helps students to formulate, develop, and express ideas through a process of writing and revisions. Students begin with familiar formats (like the personal essay) then move on to more analytical writing (the critical essay). In Writing the Essay II, students develop a clear and forceful prose style through close reading and consistent work in writing and revision. Students explore research methods and produce at least one in-depth essay that requires library research. 

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