Your First Year Experience!

Transitioning Into College

Welcome to Sonoma State University! Your first year in college is going to be one of the most exciting, most challenging, and most rewarding times of your life. Every incoming Sonoma State student is given a unique opportunity to become involved in vibrant residential, academic, and extracurricular communities.

First Year Learning Courses

The Office of Academic Programs oversees the First Year Learning Courses (FLCs). FLCs are academic classes that meet required General Education coursework and start first year students in the right direction on their academic path.

FLC Enrollment Information
For information about FLC offerings and how to enroll for Fall 2020, please refer to the following steps:
  • In the First-Year Advising Guide, view the FLC information listed in the notes area of your major;
  • View FLCs available for your major, their course descriptions, and schedules; then
  • Enroll in the FLC with the help of your academic advisor and/or O-Leader.


diverse women

General Education at SSU allows students to explore different academic areas; provides a good foundation for a student’s major; provides a broad-based education which is more marketable in the work world. For undeclared students, GE courses may lead to a major, a minor or newfound interest. Most majors at SSU have an FLC available for first-time first year students.

Although some of the FLCs align students with their major, many of the FLCs are not related to specific majors, but help students meet these General Education requirements and explore an academic discipline.

Through participation in an FLC, first-year students have the opportunity to explore and address their two primary concerns: 1) Will I find my niche? and 2) Will I be academically successful? They can connect with SSU and one another while taking innovative and academically enriching classes.

FLC class sizes are intentionally kept small (approximately 25 students per section) to assist the faculty and student leaders in creating an active and engaging learning community. The cornerstone of each FLC is the Peer Mentors, our highly trained student leaders, who assist the faculty and first year students inside and outside the classroom.

There are many benefits to actively participating in an FLC:

  • guaranteed enrollment in popular General Education (GE)
  • the opportunity to create a relationship with faculty
  • academically engaging learning environments
  • personal relationships with current student leaders
  • intentional community building with other first-time first year students
  • statistics show that students who participate in an FLC are academically and socially more successful than first-time first year students who do not take an FLC

Although every FLC is unique in its subject or interest area, each community has six consistent goals that support degree completion and student satisfaction. The goals address the social and academic transitional challenges most first-time first year students face.

In all FLCs students will:

  • understand different academic paths and disciplines; begin to discover their academic passion and how to pursue that passion
  • practice active and self-responsible learning; understand the differences between high school and college and what is necessary to be successful and actively engaged in college life
  • become familiar with campus resources designed to support student success
  • develop a strong connection to faculty, fellow students and university organizations
  • understand and appreciate ethnic and cultural diversity
  • participate meaningfully and ethically in their community

For more information, please see the First-Year Learning Course webpage on the Student Success website.