What we do

The Office of First and Second Year Experiences and Transitions plays an integral role in the successful transition and integration of first and second year students at Virginia Commonwealth University. Our office achieves its objectives by working alongside campus partners to engage students in a myriad of activities that promote academic success, social engagement, cultural competence, civic engagement, and career and professional development. 

First-Year Experience pillars and learning outcomes

  • Pillar 1: Personal growth – Students will develop attitudes and skills that will give them the courage to move from their level of comfort, the ability to collaborate with others who share different backgrounds, and gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them.

  • Pillar 2: Major exploration and academic success – Students will become acclimated to the VCU academic community by exploring and connecting with their identified and prospective college majors through experiences with their first-year academic advisors, cultivating meaningful interactions with faculty, and increasing their engagement in academic support services. 

  • Pillar 3: Cultural competence – Students will become aware of their own cultural and social identities and views about difference, and engage in experiences to learn and build on the varying cultural and community norms embedded throughout VCU’s diverse community. 

  • Pillar 4: Transitional experiences, traditions and celebrations – Students will engage in events and activities that will acclimate them into the rich traditions of VCU, and prepare them for a successful transition to the sophomore year, their Year of Purpose. At the end of the transitional experiences, students will attend ceremonial and celebratory events to recognize and honor them for completion of important first-year college milestones. 

Second-Year Experience pillars and learning outcomes

  • Pillar 1: Sense of self - Students will connect with campus resources and engage in peer-to-peer activities that will foster students’ personal and professional purpose, unique identities, and sense of belonging. 

  • Pillar 2: Academic integration and success – Students will become integrated into the academic community by building connections and identity around their academic program, fostering meaningful and purposeful experiences with faculty, establish strategic goals related to their career and professional development, and engage in experiences to promote a successful transition from sophomore to junior year.

  • Pillar 3: Social engagement and capital  – Students will deepen their social engagement and social/cultural capital by connecting with their peers through meaningful campus, residential, and alumni experiences. 

  • Pillar 4: Transitional experiences, traditions and celebrations - Students will continue their participation in rich traditional experiences, and engage in academic and social events designed to prepare them for a successful transition to their junior year. At the conclusion of these transitional experiences, students will participate in ceremonial and celebratory events to recognize and honor them for completing important second-year milestones.

Major Maps

Major Maps guide the work we do to support all VCU students. Major maps combine academic planning and strategic career planning to allow students to create individualized success plans so that they can achieve their professional and academic goals upon graduation.

We focus on the student's end goal and work backward - determining what courses, experiences, connections and skills will best position the student as a competitive, working professional after graduation. Major maps connect students to the people, resources and activities that will maximize their VCU experience.