First Year Experience

Your first year of college should be an enjoyable experience filled with plenty of opportunities to get involved and meet new people.

Attending college for the first time is a big step for everyone. From acceptance through your first weeks of classes, we provide several programs to ensure that your transition is a smooth one. We want you to feel at home here at Kent State Stark. 


Realizing that college is an exciting and challenging time for you and your family, First Step is a registration program focused on helping you make a smooth transition to your life as a college student. First Step is required of all recent high school graduates (within the last two years) and includes first semester course placement, meeting with an academic advisor and registering for fall classes. First Step students also receive their FLASHcard student ID. 


First Year Experience offers multiple Summer Service Projects to allow new students to get to know one another in a small group setting. During the service projects, students tackle projects together, build relationships with each other and Kent State staff all while giving back to the community. Many of the friendships made during these service projects will last throughout your college experience. 


Smart Start Orientation serves as new student orientation for incoming students. Held before classes start, students are invited to attend sessions on topics such as faculty expectations, money management while in college, staying healthy and balanced, time management, getting involved and effective study habits. Students are also given the opportunity to find their classrooms, receive their FLASHcard student ID and buy their books. Parents and family members are welcome to attend the event and receive information on how to support their student while in college. 


This one-credit course is required of all new Kent State University students and serves as an introduction to college life. The seminar format of the class allows for group discussions while exposing students to topics such as time management, navigating the university, choosing a major, advising, registration and much more. In addition to the course, Kent State Stark offers FlashTopic sections of UC 10097 and Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) that can be used to fulfill the UC 10097 requirement.  


These UC 10097 sections allow students to explore a topic of interest in addition to learning about the college transition. Topics include Community Engagement, Getting a Feel for Online Courses and College to Career.

Freshman Interest Groups

Students participating in a FIG will take their UC 10097 paired with a Kent Core requirement or introductory major course taught by the same instructor. This allows students with common interests to take two courses together, providing opportunities for study groups and additional support.


The FYE Success Series is a sequence of workshops to help first year students succeed. Students in UC 10097: Destination Kent State FYE are required to complete two sessions. With topics ranging from student involvement to managing stress, there are sessions for everyone.


Parents of first year students are invited to attend the annual Parent Reception to receive information and updates from the Student Services staff at Kent State Stark. This event gives parents an opportunity to ask questions, meet with administrators, learn about important next steps and to connect with other parents.


The Kent State Stark Welcome Team is a dynamic group of student leaders dedicated to making the transition to college a smooth one. They regularly participate in the planning and facilitation of all first year programs.