First College Year

The First College Year offers initiatives and experiences that help first-year students connect to academic life on campus and make a successful transition to the college community.

Contact Information

Sara Crosby, Director
Estefania Ponti, Program Coordinator
Julia Cocuzza, Program Developer

Location: 3208 Boylan Hall
Phone: 718-951-5771
Email: firstcollegeyear@brooklyn.cuny.edu
Fax: 718-951-4551

Learning Communities

These clusters of two linked general education courses and a First-Year Seminar (INDS 1011) help students connect with faculty, make new friends, sharpen critical thinking skills, and discover theoretical and real-life connections between courses. Learning communities offer students academic support from campus resources, including the Learning Center, the Center for Academic Advisement and Student Success (CAASS), the library, the Magner Career Center, and more. In addition, participation in a learning community impacts GPA, credit-accumulation, and retention.

Learning Blocks

Learning blocks are two linked general education courses. While there is no overlap in course content or additional academic support from campus resources, participation in a learning block helps students connect with faculty, make new friends, and fulfill general education requirements.

First-Year Seminar (INDS 1011)

Based on national research that shows that students who take a first-year seminar are more likely to graduate, the FCY first-year seminar is designed to help students successfully transition to college. INDS 1011 is a 1-credit course that coaches student as they practice self-awareness, help-seeking, time management, communication skills, and strategic study habits.

First-Year Common Reading

All first-year students are given the same book during New Student Orientation and then read the book in preparation for the Fall semester. The First-Year Common Reading will:

  • allow first-year students from widely diverse communities to feel ownership of a common intellectual experience;
  • create opportunities for students to engage deeply with each other and with faculty, administrators and staff from across the college;
  • foster a sense of social and academic community;
  • advance the college's commitment to incorporate principles of diversity and inclusion into the classroom and curriculum and promote peer-to-peer dialogue; and
  • promote learning how to read and discuss a high-quality literary text.

Common Reading Campus Events

Each fall, we invite the Common Reading author to visit campus for a reading, Q & A, and book signing with students. FCY also organizes other events related to the Common Reading book, such as faculty panels or film screenings. In addition, at the end of the Fall semester, Telling Our Stories, Sharing Our Lives, a student anthology of students’ written reactions to the Common Reading text, is published and distributed at a launch party and reading.

Past Selections

2015: A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
2014: Little Failure, by Gary Shteyngart
2013: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz
2012: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
2011: Brother, I'm Dying, by Edwidge Danticat
2010: How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? by Moustafa Bayoumi
2009: Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama
2008: Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
2007: Disappointment Artist, by Jonathan Lethem
2006: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer
2005: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers
2004: Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt

Selection Process

  • The Office of the Associate Provost for Academic Programs publicizes the criteria for the reading.
  • The Office of the Associate Provost for Academic Programs creates a form to collect suggestions from Brooklyn College faculty, staff and undergraduate students. (Note: The deadline for Fall 2016 has passed; any new submissions will be considered for Fall 2017.)
  • The English Composition faculty vets the recommendations for suitability for use in English 1010 and forwards three to five titles to the First College Year Advisory Board.
  • The First College Year Advisory Board makes the final selection.

First-Year Thursdays

These events—during Thursday club hours in the Fall and Spring semesters—are designed to help students learn about campus resources and about the habits of a successful student, including stress management, studying strategically, learning beyond the classroom, and financial literacy.

First-Year Survey

Survey info to come in early spring 2016.

SophoMORE Academy

Info to come in Fall 2016.

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General Education Requirements

Center for Academic Advisement and Student Success (CAASS)