The Office of Undergraduate Education

First Year Leaders

First Year Leaders (FYLs) assist professors who teach the required Freshman Seminar course and mentor new students during one-on-one meetings outside of class.

First Year Leaders are:


First year students want to make friends and their satisfaction with college often depends on feeling connected to others. FYLs are companions who support new students and help them make friends with classmates.


First year students may feel overwhelmed due to information overload, unfamiliarity with campus locations, and confusing terminology. FYLs help new students connect to resources, services, campus activities, and learn university “language,” all of which positively influence graduation rates.


First year students must learn how to succeed in college, both academically and socially. FYLs act as mentors and teach new students about topics with which they have a high level of credibility, such as those related to behavior, lifestyle, and the university social scene.


First year students want the support of others who can offer help when necessary. FYLs can advocate on behalf of students, teach them how to advocate for themselves, and direct them to on-campus resources and services when help is needed.

FYLs are required to enroll in credit/no credit leadership classes, teach topics associated with the Freshman Seminar, mentor first year students, and meet regularly with their Freshman Seminar instructor of record.

FYLs are selected in the fall for the following fall semester. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA or higher, submit application materials, and participate in interviews.

We're no longer accepting applications for our 2022 cohort. We'll begin recruiting our next cohort in September 2022.

For additional information about First Year Leaders, contact J.D. Thomas at