First Year Interest Groups
First Year Interest Groups (FIG) are a type of programming that is offered at universities across the country as a way to help students transition more successfully into college. In a FIG, students are cohorted into a group of students who take the same 2-3 classes together during their first semester at college. Because students take classes together and because FIGs traditionally have smaller class sizes, the students who participate build strong relationships with others in their classes and have a stronger support network earlier on than other students.
FIGs are designed to be interdisciplinary and frequently have a theme that ties the classes together. Research has shown that students who can draw connections and transfer knowledge between content across various courses and disciplines tend to be more successful and that having classes that explicitely show students how to do this can be incredibly beneficial.
At UW-Platteville, we also incorporate a hands-on service learning project into the First Year Interest Group. This allows students to apply what they have been learning so that they can improve their communities. In the past, students have found the service learning projects to be incredibly engaging and rewarding. In the fall 2015 semester, our service learning focused on mentoring and educating high school students and showing them about the benefits of higher education.