The First-Year Seminars at Trinity date to the late 1960s, when they were among the first to be offered at any liberal arts college. All entering first-year students, unless they are enrolled in a specialized Gateway program, take a First-Year Seminar.

The seminars are small, discussion-rich classes, created out of a faculty member’s passion for a subject. Students read critically, engage intellectually with a diverse group of peers, write regularly, and develop research skills. The intimacy of a First-Year Seminar strengthens students’ academic habits of mind by encouraging them to become active participants in their own learning.

Each seminar instructor serves as the students’ pre-major academic adviser. Seminars also include a First Year Academic Peer Mentor: an upper year student who attends classes and serves as a peer advisor.



First-Year Papers

Each year, first-year students may submit essays they have written in their First-Year Seminar to a panel of sophomore students, who select a group of essays to publish in that year’s issue of the First-Year Papers.

First-Year Mentors: Helping Students Find Their Place

Emily Wickles ’20 reflects on her experience in the First-Year Seminar Program as a mentor to 15 new Trinity students. “Mentee-mentor relationships do not and should not stop after the seminar is over. These relationships are indicative of a greater mentoring culture at Trinity,” she says.


First-Year Seminar Program

Tennyson O'Donnell Director of the First-Year Seminar Program
Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric
115 Vernon Street, Office 215