First-Year Students

First-Year Student Programs

As a first-year student, you will select an academic program to help make your transition to UAlbany a successful one.



You can select one of these...
Living-Learning Communities 

A year-long enriched academic experience open to most first-year, residential students.

Living-Learning Communities provide you with an opportunity to live and take courses with other incoming first-year students who share your personal interests, passions or intended academic major.  

You can apply on your Course Request Questionnaire that becomes available in early May.

Note: Living-Learning Communities are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. The applications will be available in early May.


What types of Living-Learning Communities are available?

You can select from a wide range of living-learning communities that are divided into two groups:


Learning Opportunities


Living-Learning Community Freshman Seminar

Living-Learning Communities include a freshman seminar. UFSP 102 is a one-credit, freshman seminar on a topic related to the Living-Learning Community theme and connected to the Living-Learning Community experience.


Pillars Program

The Pillars Program is an initiative for exceptional high school students. The name of the program ties into our campus architecture (we have 1,248 pillars on the Academic Podium) but also symbolizes the support you’ll receive as a highly motivated Great Dane. 

Students accepted to the Pillars Program can enroll in a Living-Learning Community in February or March, before the application process opens for the rest of the incoming first-year class in early May.

Please visit the Undergraduate Admissions website for more information on how to apply.


How to Apply

You can apply for a Living-Learning Community when you register for Orientation in early May. In the application, please tell us why you want to be a member of your chosen community and what you hope to gain from the experience.

Also, you must complete the housing application. You can request a roommate, but both students must be eligible for, apply to and be accepted to the same community for you to be placed together in an L-LC.

You will be notified in mid-June if you have been accepted into the Living-Learning Community. This allows you to work with your advisor in the summer Orientation session to plan your fall schedule which includes two to three classes linked to the Living-Learning Community.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions about the L-LCs.

UUNI 99 Engagement Course

This zero-credit engagement course is designed to help you engage with faculty and staff, find campus resources and support offices and take advantage of opportunities to apply what you are learning. Some engagement sections are for certain populations of students (e.g., First Generation students, new transfer students) and other sections are for students directly admitted into certain Schools and Colleges at UAlbany.


Learning Outcomes 

You can set yourself up to succeed in your first semester at UAlbany by taking this transitional support course to meet a group of new students just like you, engage in an interactive classroom and be eligible to win fun raffles and prizes.


Select Your Course

Please contact your academic advisor about which UUNI 99 engagement course may be right for you.

Freshman Seminars

An enriched academic experience required for all first-year students.

You may select one of the three options listed below:


Freshman Seminar (1 Credit)

Freshman seminars are small classes, offering first-year students the opportunity for personal interaction with a faculty member. While exploring the chosen topic, you will also be introduced to the academic expectations, intellectual challenges and personal opportunities available to you at UAlbany.

UFSP 100: Choose a topic that interests you

UUNI 150: Create an academic plan for your success

Please search the freshman seminar course topics through the schedule of classes by following the steps below:

  • Step 1: Select a Semester or Term to search the Schedule of Classes 
  • Step 2: Select Undergraduate only for Level (Graduate/Undergraduate) 
  • Step 3: Select UFSP 100 to see the different Course Subjects offered or UUNI 150 for the scheduling options available
  • Step 4: Leave everything as it is in the other fields 
  • Step 5: Select submit

Work with your academic advisor on your First-Year Experience choice for your first semester.


UUNI 100: The Freshman Year Experience (3 Credit)

The purpose of this course is to help you become an effective student. It focuses on the academic skills that will help you succeed at UAlbany (e.g., time management and study skills).

You will learn about the college experience, including experiences unique to first-year students, transitional stages that you may undergo and coping strategies that can help you pass through this phase of college life.

In addition, you will learn how to use and locate important campus resources and learn about who you are and how that information helps you choose a major and a career.


Select Your Course

You will select a course when you submit your Orientation form.

If you have any questions, please contact your advisor or Academic Advising to select the best option for you.

Honors College

A four-year enriched academic experience for invited students.

The Honors College is a small community of scholars who seek a more engaging academic experience to challenge and develop themselves.

As an Honors College student, you’ll enjoy small Honors-only classes, Honors housing and priority course registration and weekly academic, cultural and social events. You’ll also be supported by faculty members, Honors academic advisors, an Honors librarian and Honors peer mentors.

All high school seniors who apply for admission to the University at Albany are automatically considered for the Honors College. Eligible transfer students are invited to apply.


How to Apply

Please visit the Honors College website for more information.

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at the University at Albany provides admission opportunities for economically and educationally disadvantaged undergraduate students who are residents of New York State.


How to Apply

To qualify for admission to EOP, you must be a New York State resident, possess a high school diploma or its equivalent and meet academic and financial eligibility requirements.

Please visit Undergraduate Admission’s EOP page for detailed information on eligibility requirements and application instructions.

Information For
Two students study together while sitting on a bench


Once you're here...
Writing and Critical Inquiry

A required enriched academic experience for all first-year students. 

The Writing and Critical Inquiry Program (UUNI 110) is a dynamic learning environment that first-year students benefit from with small class sizes and one-on-one interactions with their instructor. 

This is a required course for all incoming first-year students and fulfills the general education requirement for Writing and Critical Inquiry. You will take this course in either the fall or spring semester of your first year at UAlbany. 

If you have any questions about when to take this course, contact your advisor in the Academic Support Center.

Please visit the Writing and Critical Inquiry Program for more information.

Munch with the Majors

Our Munch with the Majors program allows you to learn more about academic majors and minors, different career paths stemming from those majors, research opportunities, co-curricular activities, clubs that relate to your chosen majors and more.

Each September, meet with faculty and staff from the majors that interest you and learn how to get the most from your field of study.

Food for Thought

You can invite a faculty member to dine in one of our student dining halls. We sponsor this program to cover the cost of a faculty member's meal that can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

Note: The cost of the meal can only be covered in our student dining halls and only covers the cost for a faculty member, not a student.


What are the benefits of dining with a faculty member?

  • Develop a relationship with a potential mentor – someone who has a personal interest in your success 
  • Ask questions and engage in conversations about your academic journey 
  • Discuss ways to get involved on campus, develop study skills and college life in general 
  • Make quick connections with faculty 
  • Learn about potential majors and career pathways 
  • Explore research, internship and graduate school programs 
  • Ask for letters of recommendation for job applications and graduate schools 
  • Express appreciation to faculty for their mentorship


How to Participate

  • Step 1: Invite a faculty member to join you for a meal. You can go alone, or you can invite other interested students along.
  • Step 2: Select a date, time and place and confirm the appointment with a faculty member.
  • Step 3: Pick up the meal ticket for a faculty member in Taconic 346.

Note: Please arrange to meet outside the dining hall in case you need to swipe faculty into the building.


Need Conversation Starters?

  • Where did you go to college? What did you study? Why did you choose that major? 
  • What are your areas of specialization? In what areas did you research? 
  • What are your personal interests? How do you spend your free time? 
  • What interesting things can you recommend doing on campus? 
  • What other classes do you teach or recommend? 
  • What are interesting or unique things that you can do in this field? 
  • What careers do students who have studied in this field pursue? 
  • Do many students in this field apply to graduate or professional school? 
  • What are some tips for being a great student at UAlbany? In this field specifically? 
  • What are some tips for being successful in this class? 
  • What topics in this class do students find most challenging? 
  • Are there any study tips for this discipline or class that you recommend? 
Food for Finals

We partner with Student Affairs and University Auxiliary Services to offer students a special meal served by faculty, staff and administrators before finals begin. We encourage students to take a study break and connect with the campus community to discuss helpful study tips and receive words of encouragement. 

Every year, we witness firsthand just how appreciative students are of having our campus community there for encouragement and support as they prepare for their final exams. 

We offer the following each semester:

Fall Semester features up to 100 faculty, staff and administrator "celebrity servers" in student dining halls serving up Late Night Breakfast.  

Spring Semester features "celebrity servers" on the Academic Podium for a Late Night BBQ the night before final exams begin.

Peer Educators

Student Engagement offers a two-credit peer education course (UUNI 350) designed for excellent students to learn about the theory and practice of peer education while actively supporting the teaching and mentoring of students in first-year seminar courses.

Peer Educators can provide a student-centered perspective on learning and mentoring, while also building their ability to communicate and assist in a leadership role. They can play a key role in assisting faculty by helping with classroom management, office hours and tutoring, in addition to mentoring and working directly with other undergraduate students.


Requirements for peer educators

  • Rising junior and senior status at the time of application
  • A minimum of a 3.0 GPA
  • Good academic standing


How to host a peer educator

First-Year Experience faculty can nominate a promising student to serve as their peer educator or request that a peer educator be randomly assigned to them. In either instance, faculty must tell Student Engagement in the spring that they would like to work with a peer educator during the fall.



Please contact Leah Scognamiglio for more information.

First-Year Student Program
Leah Scognamiglio
Assistant Director of First-Year Engagement