First-Year Success Courses

VCU strongly encourages all incoming first-year students to enroll in at least one First-Year Student Success course. These courses count toward graduation requirements and meet only once a week for 50 minutes.

National research shows that these first-year courses greatly impact the overall grade performance of students and also improve how connected a student feels to their university (thus improving their persistence in college and their GPA).

These courses are taught by our academic advisors, financial aid counselors, campus leaders and student affairs professionals interested in connecting to first-year students based on their interests, fears, aspirations and career goals.


All of our student success courses are listed in the Banner 9 registration system as UNIV 191, unless otherwise noted.

First-Year Student Success courses include:

Academic Majors

  • Building a Fantastic (Mass Comm) Foundation
  • Business Foundation (BFO) Student Success
  • Maximizing VCUarts Foundation
  • Professional Planning for Pre-Clinical Radiation Majors
  • Professional Planning for Pre-Dental Hygiene Majors
  • Professional Planning for Pre-Nursing Majors
  • Principles of Success for Pre-Professional Health Students

Career and Professional Success

  • Education and Career Planning (UNIV103) *For undeclared students
  • Introduction to Career Planning and Management

College Skills and Personal Success

  • Study Skills and Procrastination
  • Purpose and Belonging
  • The Science of Recovery
  • Well-Being in College
  • Writing with Confidence

Connecting to VCU and RVA

  • Adventures!
  • From the Locker Room to Classroom
  • Get Connected - Service Learning
  • Getting Involved on Campus 
  • Introduction to the University (UNIV 101)
  • Maximizing Your Global Learning
  • Navigating the Transition to VCU
  • Profiles in Leadership: Deepening your influence at VCU (LRDS 200)
  • Urban Education and Experience

Identity, Community and Belonging

  • ¡Adelante!: The Path to Success at VCU
  • Dynamic Principles for Professional Development: For Men of Color
  • Leadership Development for Women of Color
  • Navigating LGBTQ Pride at VCU and RVA
  • YouFirst @ VCU *For first-generation students

How to register:

  • To register for our success courses through the Banner 9 registration system, follow this step-by-step video tutorial.
  • In Banner 9, search for University College (UNIV) 101, 103 or 191.
  • There are several schedule options to meet your needs. Be sure to click each page number at the bottom of the screen for a full list of courses and times.
  • Add your success course to your schedule, and you're all done!


Here's what a few of the students who have taken First-Year Student Success courses had to say about their experience:

  • "Great class that really made me discover myself and what I believe in. Thanks for a great half-semester!"
  • "I really enjoyed taking this class and experiencing a space for LGBTQ+ friendly talk and discussion."
  • "Very knowledgeable, and helps nurture an inclusive learning environment where discussion is heavily promoted."
  • "[My professor] was a fantastic professor for this course and helped me acquire useful knowledge in regard to resources and opportunities available from VCUarts. He also did a great job giving us more information about the various majors offered next year."
  • "This class helped me with the struggles often associated with being a freshman, and I was able to take away key techniques to cope with stress and concentration."