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The First Semester Experience Program (FSE) at Columbia College is a unique learning community that is designed to boost success in pursuing college goals. FSE consists of a series of orientation activities, programs, and courses to help students ease into the demands and challenges of college life, forge connections with counselors, faculty, staff and peers, and prepare for academic and personal success at Columbia...and beyond!
Our TOP 10 about FSE:
  1. FSE and Campus Orientation
  2. All books & materials provided/loaned at no cost
  3. A full 12-unit course load carefully scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays: Math 602: Pre-Algebra (4 units),  English 151: Preparation for College Composition (5 units), and  Guidance 100: College Success (3 units)
  4. Academic Advising and Counseling
  5. Development of an Educational Plan
  6. Built in Math Tutoring
  7. Utilize Tutoring Center for Papers
  8. Individual meetings with FSE Teaching Team
  9. Learning and utilizing campus resources for student success, how to study and gaining confidence for tackling the next level of college coursework
  10. Gaining a 'family' of friends, faculty and mentors, working together to accomplish academic and life goals

Current First Semester Experience Teaching Team:

FSE Teaching Team

(From left to right) Lindsay Laney: English 151; John Leamy: Math 602 and Kirsten Miller: Guidance 100

Testimonials of 'First Semester Experience' Alumni:

  • "I obtained vast amounts of knowledge, friends and a family. I loved every part of this incredible journey." J.P.
  • "FSE teaches you how to study and prepare for the next level of studying in college." M.G.
  • "My experience in the FSE program was one of the best experiences in my life, to be honest. I loved knowing that all my classes were in one classroom, especially when it came to being new on a college campus for the first time. Having a program like FSE really helped me learn what was most important to me when it came to finding out my priorities in life and what I was willing to do to get the best grades possible." B.G.
  • "I'm really glad I got to experience FSE. Before this semester, it was ten years since I was in school, and I must admit that I was nervous about trying to go back." J.K.
  • "It's a great way to introduce the way college works for incoming high school students." M.C.
  • "I loved the learning environment and the friends I have made over the course of the FSE Program. It was a great success for me as I learned a lot about myself and how to continue my education. It has really opened my eyes not only to school but to the world around me as well." E.A.
  • "Without FSE, I think I would have given up on college like many people I know and gotten a job and went from there. I am so grateful for staying with the plan to be in this program and having the support from family and friends to get through it. This was a great first experience and I'm glad I made it into the program." M.S.
  • "I have had so much fun and learned so much; things that I thought I would never be able to learn. The FSE program is an amazing program with amazing opportunities for students that didn't do well in high school and also for the people that are returning back to college after being out for so long." K.B.
  • "I am a returning student who has been out of school for a long time. The fact that the classes were scheduled for two days a week in the same room made it convenient. I had three days a week open on my schedule to go to the library, to complete my homework, or to get tutoring. I feel more confident about next semester." A.B.
  • "My experience in FSE has been one of the best of my life, it was the right choice for me. The three instructors make a great team and have different teaching styles, so the diversity was nice. The exposure to those different styles is exactly what beginning college students need to see. I am very grateful for the semester in its entirety, and for the new members of my academic family. My classmates and I became very close and I would not trade the experience of FSE for anything in the world." R.H.
  • "It was great meeting so many new people and becoming as close to them as I did. I loved that the class only met two days a week because this worked very well with my work schedule. I feel better prepared to what next semester will bring me now." A.L.

FSE Alumni Advice for Future FSE Participants:

  • "Always finish your homework. Be open with yourself. Be yourself." J.P.
  • "It will be a great experience for you if you let it. Do not be afraid to ask a question if you don't understand something. Don't be afraid of the teachers, they don't bite. Bring extra snacks, and the teachers like M&M's." S.H.
  • "Take advantage of all that is given to you. All the help you get in this program is something you might not get in your future semesters in college." M.G.
  • "Use the resources and the office hours and emails of your instructors. Being able to use the resources of the campus really helped me when it came to understanding what the teacher actually wanted out of the class." B.G.
  • "It's worth every moment in the end. I have never been in classes like this and it was all worthwhile." E.A.
  • "Even though it is basic stuff, do NOT underestimate it because these are still college classes. Be excited because it really is an awesome opportunity to get a transition into what college is really like." J.H.
  • "Do not go into the semester with the idea that this will be a breeze. Cherish the friends you make and make sure you are willing to work hard." J.K.
  • "This is going to be an awesome experience and you better be ready to meet your new family for the next 16 weeks! FSE is such a great way to start off at Columbia and it will be a lot of hard work, but it will prepare you to move on. I'm so happy I got to be a part of this awesome program." C.C.
  • "This is an amazing program and I gained so many things from it, like friendships, knowledge, confidence, and the ability to know that I am able to do things on my own to the best of my ability." K.B.
  • "Take the class seriously and try to implement the skills and techniques they are teaching. Use your campus resources and allow extra time to do homework. When you have problems, seek out help and keep trying." A.B.
  • "I realized early that if I wanted to keep my grades up, then I would have to commit at least 40 hours per week to school, including the 14 hours of class. I also learned early to take advantage of the resources available on campus, especially the AAC and the S.I. Tutor. I also learned not to be afraid to ask questions. When the instructors say 'no late assignments will be accepted,' BELIEVE THEM! I learned not to schedule too much on Wednesday, as you'll have a lot of homework due on Thursdays. As important as our education is, we need to remember to have fun with life and laugh, sometimes at ourselves. Enjoy the experience; it is only going to happen once and it will be over quicker than you would imagine." R.H.
  • "This program will start you off on the right foot. If you do your best and have a little faith in the teachers and the things they ask of you, when the experience is over, you will be more than glad you did! Come to class, and make any other plans around your class time. If you are not here, you will not learn, you will miss something, and there is way too much to gain from each class each day to not show up. The seat you are in is worth more than just the money that it costs to pay for your units and books. Sincerely a very changed and grateful student, T.A."
  • "You are very lucky to be in this program! This program does so much for you in one semester that you cannot get anywhere else. The semester will go great if you go in with an open mind to learning." A.L.