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Your First Year

First-Year Seminar

Washington College’s First-Year Seminar program introduces new college students to the excitement of critical inquiry and learning, and to the key academic skills required for sustained collegiate success.

FYS courses cover a wide range of topics, but all share three essential elements: the passion of a dedicated instructor, a small-seminar format where students contribute and learn from each other, and a sustained focus on careful reading, sound research, thoughtful discussion, and clear writing—the ‘habits of critical inquiry’ at the heart of liberal education.

All FYS courses introduce students to library research and information literacy; offer instruction on the writing process, rhetorical knowledge, and academic conventions; and include significant research, writing, revision, and presentation work. FYS courses satisfy the W1 component of the college’s Writing Program.

FYS Requirements

Research: Each student will conduct independent or collaborative research about a problem by finding, utilizing and properly citing multiple forms of digital and/or print library resources, and becoming conversant with information literacy and academic technology.

Writing: Each student will complete three distinct, formal writing experiences that are spaced throughout the course. These writing experiences may be essays, or they may be other genres of writing that are specific to research process relevant to the seminar. Since revision is a key element of the writing process, essay responses on tests will not count for these experiences.

Revision: Each student will engage in response and review of their writing through conferencing with the instructor and/or peer review sessions.

Presentation: Each student will present their research in a public format and receive feedback on content, form, and style.