The First Year Experience program will nurture your academic skills and passions and immerse you in the life of our campus.

First Year Experience at Otterbein

Otterbein’s First Year Experience program has been designed to help all new students make a successful transition to Otterbein. Your transition will start with orientation and it will continue as you engage with the academic and co-curricular experiences designed to engage new students throughout their first year on campus.

Information for Faculty

Resources for faculty teaching in the FYE program can be found in the General Education Resources LibGuide.

What is the First Year Seminar Course (FYS)?

The First Year Seminar is a signature component of the FYE program and serves as the beginning course in the Integrative Studies curriculum. First Year Seminars serve as the first course in Otterbein’s Integrative Studies (general education) program. The seminars are diverse in topic and disciplinary perspective, but share a set of goals and outcomes related to student learning and transition into the Otterbein academic community.

The seminars are taught by a wide range of faculty and are designed to provide students with an introduction to interdisciplinary learning. Students should choose a seminar that seems interesting to them; no major requires a specific seminar. Therefore the seminars are also a great way for students who are undecided or unsure of their major to explore different topics or areas.

There are also specifically designed seminars for students who may not be new to college, or may be returning as a non-traditionally aged student. These seminars are called Transition Year Seminars. They fulfill the same learning goals and curricular requirement as the First Year Seminar, but the focus of the class and the students enrolled in the class will not be first time, first year students. These sections are specifically listed with the TYS course prefix in the schedule of classes. Transfer and adult students are welcome to take a traditional FYS course, but have the option of taking a TYS section.

What is a Peer Mentor?

First Year Experience Peer Mentors are leaders on campus who help ease the transition to college for first-year students. Peer Mentors will offer peer insight into academic and social life at college, as well as provide supplemental support for new Otterbein students. Please contact Colette Masterson, Associate Director of New Student Transitions with comments/questions. 

FYE Events Calendar

The transition into the Otterbein community involves many elements, both inside and outside of the classroom. Co-curricular experiences have always been valued as an important part of a student’s educational experience – so the FYE program has significant co-curricular programming to deliver on the overall program goals.

Each week, there are set events that peer mentors will present to students on successful tips for transitioning to college. First Year Students must attend three of these events in their first semester on campus.

Questions about events? Email or call 614-823-3202.

For more information about co-curricular programming or transition support, please contact Jennifer Bechtold, 614-823-1624, or Colette Masterson, 614-823-3205,

Note: Many of these events require that you pre-register. You must register for events you plan to attend at least 48 hours in advance.  If you do not pre-register, you will not be guaranteed a space at the event. Your instructor may allow you to attend campus events not listed below. Please consult with your FYS professor to determine what is considered an approved event for your FYS section.