A Wider Welcome: Smith's New First-Year Experience Program

When you’re a first-year student, everything is new.

So Smith has launched a new program designed to help entering students with everything from academics to social life to engagement in the community.

The new six-week First-Year Experience program offers time management workshops, outdoor adventures, social justice teas—and more—all designed to prepare new Smithies for the range of experiences the college has to offer.

Entering students will be able to sign up for the First-Year Experience program on Wednesday, Sept. 6—the same day they register for academic courses.

Assistant Dean of Students Marge Litchford, director of first-year programs at Smith, says the new schedule was developed in response to feedback from students about the need for a more comprehensive introduction to life at the college.

“The goal of our First-Year Experience program has always been to create an experience that extends beyond Orientation,” Litchford says. “Our new six-week program offers students a chance to learn more about the many and varied aspects of being a Smithie.”

Each time they attend a First-Year Experience session, students can enter their names in a drawing for the “Ultimate Prize”: first choice of room for sophomore year.

“Ask any upper-class student and they’ll tell you, getting to choose your room first is the ultimate prize,” Litchford says, with a smile.

This year’s Orientation runs from Friday, Sept. 1, through Thursday, Sept. 7. First-Year Experience sessions begin the next day—Friday, Sept. 8—and run through Sunday, Oct. 15.

Information about both programs is available online and on the college’s First-Year Experience app, a smartphone-friendly tool that also provides schedule reminders, information updates, building locations and contact information for key college staff.