First-Year Experience

La Sierra University’s First-Year Experience program helps students complete a successful transition to college by

  • Introducing important university resources
  • Developing academic strengths
  • Identifying major and career goals
  • Connecting with peers, faculty, and campus life

The First-Year Experience begins during summer’s First-Year Orientation and continues during the school year in the First-Year Seminar and weekly academic coaching sessions.

First-Year Orientation

The freshman journey begins at summer orientation where students will

  • Connect with professors and staff
  • Learn about campus policies and resources
  • Register for classes
  • Meet their future classmates

Orientation is required for all freshmen new to college or transferring 23 college credits or less. To learn more and register for this event, please click here.

First-Year Seminar

A student’s freshman year continues in the First-Year Seminar. Designed for new students and those with 23 college credits or less, this two-quarter sequence helps students learn about general education and build the basic study and social skills necessary for success.

Students enroll in either the First-Year Seminar or an enhanced version called Critical Thinking Skills for the University Student.


This seminar is an introduction to La Sierra University life, including campus culture and the general education curriculum. Each course is centered around a unique theme; nevertheless, each seminar assists students with utilizing learning resources and strategies including time management, goal setting, and financial literacy.


In this course students cultivate critical faculties through reading comprehension, written and oral communication, and learning communities. In addition, students will focus on developing such skills as time management, goal setting, reading and memory, and stress management.

This course is required for students accepted on a provisional basis. Students enrolled in basic skills courses are also encouraged to register. Three (3) units of UNST 100A seminar is completed during fall quarter and the 3-unit UNST 100B is completed during winter.

Academic Coaching

To support the freshman journey, students will be matched with their own personal academic coach. Students meet with coaches 30 minutes each week they are enrolled in the First-Year Seminar. Together they will review study skills and habits, monitor grades, plan course schedules, and identify learning resources that will support their academic success.

At the end of the coaching experience, students will:

  • Know requirements needed to complete their chosen academic program
  • Utilize campus resources to enhance their learning experience
  • Understand how to successfully navigate university life