First Year Experience (FYE)

What is FYE at Washington Adventist University?

The First-Year Experience (FYE) program is designed to help new students learn the Washington Adventist University culture, adjust to the new academic challenges of higher education, and master the rigors of college life. The program is a university-wide effort to orient new students to the WAU campus and help them quickly feel they are an important part of the community as they learn how to be successful college students.  The program combines thoughtful instruction, cooperative learning, experiential activities, and spiritual support in a small class setting to provide new students with a great beginning at WAU.

“Your growth is the key to the life you desire, the person you were created to be. Before you do anything it is important to understand how growth happens and to be aware of the principles of growth. I spent thousands of hours developing the laws of growth so you could understand the basic foundation and principles.”   -John Maxwell 


Each year, freshman students read a common book, which will be the foundation for developing strong personal habits that are foundational for college success and continued lifetime success. Every year a different book is chosen, but each contains themes for students to apply to their academics and life. FYE students will have the ability to refine their purpose, validate their potential, and be intentional about growing into their best self-possible.

The Gallup Strengths Inventory will give the students their top five talents and FYE will provide opportunities for each student to know how they can grow those talents into strengths.

Campus experience and co-curricular programs focusing on networking, building relationships, integrating theory and knowledge into skills for career development will be provided giving each student an opportunity from the very beginning of their college experience to see how each step leads to a life devoted to service.


FYE includes:

    • New Student Orientation: a week of experiences designed to help you learn what to expect academically, how to navigate campus, and where to find things, including campus resources and support services.
    • FYE Class: a one-credit-hour class taken during the first semester that teaches new students foundational skills needed to adjust to college life, learn the importance of critical thinking, and develop a strong cohort of peers.
    • FYE Common Reading:  a book chosen to engage, enlighten, and encourage new students is assigned as summer reading.  In the first few weeks of the semester, students will deliver class presentations based on their common reading book assignments.
    • FYE Activities: student engagement opportunities completed throughout the year consisting of a variety of activities including workshops, off-campus outings, networking, and new experiences.
    • FYE Academic Enhancement: provided by a collaborative effort between the Betty Howard Center for Student Success staff, academic department tutors, and the FYE coordinator, to help students manage the challenges of college classes.

What FYE can do for the new WAU student?

  • Teach skills that will enhance college success.
  • Help forge connections with faculty, staff, and peers.
  • Provide a strong sense of belonging in the WAU community.
  • Create challenges to see the world in a different way.
  • Provide opportunities to grow intellectually and spiritually.

The transition to college can be challenging, confusing, and difficult. Those first weeks can be filled with questions and unknowns.  The FYE program at WAU equips new students with the knowledge and skills to find answers to their questions and empowers them to be successful.  Beginning with the first days of New Student Orientation, the FYE team members engage students with a multitude of experiences that help stimulate focus and determination to be successful students, all the way to graduation.  The foundation of the FYE program will make the new student experience the adventure of a lifetime!

Find us on Facebook:

Find us in person at the Betty Howard Center for Student Success in Wilkinson Hall, Room 133.


Washington Adventist University
7600 Flower Ave.
Takoma Park, Md. 20912
Dr. Betty Johnson, FYE Coordinator
Phone 301-891-4106 / 301-576-0192