The Freshmen Year Experience (FYE) supports the transitioning of new students into the intellectual, social, and cultural community of the University of Pittsburgh. FYE is committed to providing an integrated curricular and co-curricular program that promotes student success by helping students to: 

  • Connect with the campus community.
  • Develop habits, skills, and attitudes essential for success at the university and in life.
  • Understand the world in which they live and their relationship to it.
  • Foster a life-long love of learning.

The Freshmen Year Experience begins before the beginning of the first semester with STAR Days and Student Orientation. It continues during the first year of classes with the Freshmen Seminar, Student Affairs programming, campus cultural events, the Learning Center, Academic Advising, and the early warning system.


During the spring and summer, new students attend a STAR Day. On this day, students take placement tests, meet their advisors, and register for classes. Students are introduced to the curricular and co-curricular programs of the University. Students learn about the requirements of academic programs, student housing, student activities, and the various programs available to help them secure their goal of graduating from the University. Students find out more about campus life and how they can successfully be engaged with the University community.

New Student Orientation

This program is designed to acclimate new students to the University environment and to prepare students for academic and social success. Student orientation is a four day experience that occurs before the beginning of the fall semester. New students meet their classmates, their roommates, socialize with each other, become familiar with the campus, engage in community service, learn about faculty expectations for students in and outside of the classroom, and learn about the expectations for living on, being at, and attending the University. New student orientation is also a lot of fun.

Orientation Welcome and Information:

Student Resources:

Freshman Seminar

This course is required of all new freshmen students. The one-credit course assists students in making a successful transition to the University and in gaining the knowledge and skills they need to improve their academic performance and their integration into campus life.

The faculty teaching this course become academic mentors for freshmen students. These faculty play a key role for encouraging the academic success of students and in the early warning system.

The topics of each section differ, reflecting the interests of the faculty and student affairs professionals teaching the course. The outcomes and basic requirements of each course, however, are the same. At the completion of the course, students are expected to exhibit at least some of the behaviors, attitudes, and skills necessary to succeed at college and in life; engagement in the curricular and co-curricular life of the college; some awareness of global events and their relationship to those events; and an understanding of the importance of a life-long love of learning.

Each section has a text or set of readings, a graded weekly journal requirement, and a University passport assignment. A text is required to introduce students to the rigor and necessity of reading for academic success. The journal requirement allows students a way in which to reflect and express themselves in writing, which is another skill that is key to academic success. Finally, the University passport assignment requires students to engage in the social, cultural and academic life of college. Students are required to attend a certain number of University events.

Discover Passport

This program is an offering to all campus students, but is a requirement for all students enrolled in the Freshman Seminar course.  Events on the passport are sponsored by faculty and staff members to enrich the college experience.  There are more than 25 events offered on the passport every fall and spring term and students earn stamps by attending and/or participating in the activities or events listed.  Students enrolled in the Freshman Seminar course must earn at least seven stamps during the term in at least four color areas to successfully pass that portion of the course requirement.  Each semester there is a drawing for gift cards for students who participate in the Discover Passport and turn their completed passport n by the deadline to the Student Life Office (SU 217). Click here to get a copy of the Discover Passport.