First-Year Experience Program

First-Year Experience

For a Successful Start to College

The transition from high school to college can be both exciting and unfamiliar. As an incoming first-year student, you’ll be enrolled in the First-Year Experience: University Success Program, which will teach you about the academic expectations of college, campus life, and service to the community.

Through assignments of self-discovery, you will also learn valuable skills of reflection and how to document those reflections. In doing so, you’ll become more thoughtful about your work, your purpose, and your future, so that you’ll approach each year of college in a proactive way. (We call this The Griffin Edge.

The First-Year Experience Introduction to GMercyU

To warmly welcome all new first-year and transfer students, GMercyU hosts a three-part orientation experience, called Ready, Set, Griffins! It takes place during the summer prior to the fall semester.

1. Griffin Ready
At Griffin Ready Days, students meet current and other future Griffins on campus to learn about GMercyU student resources and opportunities. They also register for classes with the support and guidance of an academic advisor. Families can attend Griffin Ready Days; we introduce them our version of “Mercy Hospitality” and welcome all to the GMercyU family. 

2. Griffin Set
Next, students receive invitations to our Griffin Set Canvas site, where they can find online resources and additional to-do items prior to the first day of classes.

3. Griffin Orientation
Griffin Ready and Griffin Set lead to this final step ... welcome to Griffin Nation! Orientation is a one-day event for transfer students and two-day event for first-year students. It prepares them for academic success, fosters positive relationships with all members of our community, connects them to supportive resources, and shares GMercyU’s mission and core values. It's also just a whole lot of fun!

The First-Year Experience Courses

Taken during the fall semester of your first year
This course will help you adjust to the academic expectations of college as you and your classmates discuss topics such as academic integrity, time management, and communication skills. You’ll spend time learning research skills and information literacy. You will also be introduced to our history of Mercy and how our Core Values of integrity, respect, service, and social justice will impact your work at GMercyU and beyond.

Taken during the spring semester of your first year
You’ll learn more about GMercyU’s Mercy heritage and the importance of social responsibility. We believe Mercy values are gained through service activities within the local community. To connect your service experiences with classroom learning, you will also complete guided written reflections.

First-Year Experience Learning Outcomes

Through the courses above, ENG-002/101, Student Engagement Co-Curricular Activities, and service opportunities, students will experience the following outcomes:

  • Students will identify their learning preferences and strategies.
  • Students will develop academic skills (higher order thinking, time management, study strategies, goal setting, etc.).
  • Students will explore and have knowledge of university resources to support their success.
  • Students will explore and develop their academic interests and career pathways.

  • Students will apply rhetorical strategies to communicate (written and oral) effectively in environments for various audiences and in multiple contexts.
    • Display habits of sound critical thinking in discussion and written and oral communication through effective listening, oral presentation, and writing skills
  • Students will demonstrate the use of appropriate tools and search strategies to identify, evaluate, and cite particular types of information.
  • Students will access and use information ethically and legally.
  • Students will have the opportunity to explore and develop constructive communication and cultural competence.

  • Students will practice inter- and intra-personal skills (i.e., decision-making, sensitivity to multiple perspectives, self-awareness, and self-efficacy).
  • Students will analyze and synthesize the relevance of the mission, core values, and Sisters of Mercy.
  • Students will explore their identities and values as individuals, members of the community, and as global citizens.
  • Students will encounter differing points of view with civility and respect and engaging with issues of power, inequity, and social justice.

Frequently Asked First-Year Questions

Have questions about registering for classes? Not sure where to get your parking permit? Want to know more about Move-In Day or orientation? Check out our page for accepted undergraduate students.


Want to know more about the FYE program? Contact Kim Cooney, EdD, at 215-646-7300 ext. 21020 or