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h > ACADEMICS & DEGREE PROGRAMS > Resources & Opportunities > First-Year Experience

First-Year Experience

Welcome to Your First-Year Experience!

At Armstrong, we are fully committed to helping you successfully navigate the transition from high school to college. All first-year students participate in a First Class learning community that links a first-year seminar course with one of a number of core courses. These linked classes are closely related, and the same students will take both courses, often having the same professor for their seminar course and core course. First-year students may also participate in other First-Year Learning Communities (FLCs), as well as the Common Read program. 

What else should you expect in your first year at Armstrong

Freedom (and responsibilities).

Most students say the first big difference they notice at Armstrong is that they can do what they want.  They have FREEDOM!  No parents telling them to get up, checking to see if they have done their homework, making them eat vegetables, no curfew – none of that! 

But with freedom comes responsibilities.  Now you need to:

  • Get your homework done on time
  • Eat well enough to keep you healthy and alert
  • Get enough sleep to function well the next day, and week
  • Do the laundry (your roommate will appreciate it)
  • Set aside time to study
  • Manage time and deadlines
  • Find time to relax and exercise
  • ​Get yourself up for class
Everything’s faster.

In the classroom, college moves a lot quicker than high school.  Professors speed through information much more rapidly than high school teachers, often covering a chapter a week.  What that means for you is:

  • You need to keep up with reading and homework – professors are not your parents, they won’t check on you.
  • You need to learn a lot more material for tests.  Some professors only give two tests, a midterm and a final.  Most give 3 or 4 over the semester.  Basically, that’s a month’s worth of material, covering many chapters, that you are expected to know. 
  • Even if you did well in high school, you need to learn how to study better, more effectively, or you will be lost. 
Help is available – but you need to get it.
  • Tutoring for math and science is in the Science Center. 
  • Help with your papers is in Gamble Hall. 
  • Professors have office hours and can meet by appointment.  But you need to seek it out – you need to get to the help yourself. 

At Armstrong, it’s expected (yes, EXPECTED) that you will use the help that’s out there. That’s why by the second week of class, the math labs are full of students, the writing center is taking appointments and your classmates are forming study groups. Other help is available, from health and counseling services to exercise classes and intramural sports.

Plan to stay a while.

With over 80 clubs and organizations as well as activities all during the day, students want to stay on or near campus as much as they can.  Even students who live at home and drive to campus will want to stay all day, to catch up on homework or enjoy the latest film showing.

Need a place to hang out?  Try the Student Union – lots of chairs and sofas to park yourself and get some needed reading done.  Or, if you need a quieter space, the library, the Learning Commons and First-Year Experience Lounge in the Student Success Center is available.  Use the time between classes to review notes and get some of your homework done – then you have less to do at night at home or in the residence hall (which some students call home).

So is college really that different from high school?

YES. You will:​

  • Study longer
  • Meet more
  • Stay up later
  • Push yourself harder
  • Talk longer
  • Run faster
  • Read more
  • Laugh harder
  • Work better, longer, later, harder, faster and more than you ever have. 

Armstrong is all that, and then some.

Take it from former first-year students. They offer advice about time management and resources on campus.