Stevenson University is one of nearly 90% of U.S. colleges and universities that utilize student success courses as a way of enhancing the experiences and outcomes for students enrolled at the University. At Stevenson, these student success courses most often take the form of First-Year Seminar courses for first year students, and Seminar/Forum courses clustered by academic program for returning students. In many cases, is a generalized student success course that is completed in a student’s first semester at Stevenson, while academic Seminar/Forum courses are taken each semester that a student is enrolled in a specific academic program.  

Students often have many questions regarding First Year Seminar student success courses at Stevenson University, including who runs these courses, what do these courses teach, where do these course meet, and when are these courses held. Often, answers to these questions are specific to each academic program or course professor. Still, one of the greatest questions students have is why do we have to take these courses? There are many reasons why colleges and universities such as Stevenson offer student success courses, but they can be generalized in two main categories: experience and performance.


One major reason why Stevenson uses student success courses is that they can help improve students’ college experience. As many of you now realize, the transition to college can be a shock to the system for many new students and can require previously unnecessary scheduling strategies, coping mechanisms, and communication skills. Accordingly, student success courses take a holistic approach to the college learning experience. In addition to providing students with academic tools to help them in the classroom, the curricula of student success courses also cover important lessons for many scenarios that students may experience outside of the classroom as well. Discussing important topics regarding college life inside and outside of the classroom enables student success courses to positively influence all aspects of adjusting to college life.


Perhaps the main reason that Stevenson University utilizes student success courses is that they simply work. Research has consistently shown a positive relationship between enrollment in student success courses and achievement in credit-bearing academic courses. In taking a First Year Seminar course, students learn important lessons that are applicable to all aspects of their college experience. Students enrolled in student success courses consistently perform better academically than their peers who do not participate in such courses. They earn better grades in coursework and they enjoy better experiences outside the classroom. With this in mind, embrace your student success course and squeeze as much out of each meeting as you can!