George Williams College

First Year Experience (FYE)

student rock climbing

Your experience as a first-year college student begins with Freshman Registration and Advising Days in May, followed by Summer Connections events to help familiarize you with GWC, and Freshman Orientation prior to the start of the fall semester. These events allow you to meet faculty, staff, and other students while helping you get an early start on transitioning to college.

Student Involvement

GWC students are extremely involved in our 12+ student clubs and organizations, as well as Alternative Spring Break and other volunteer or service-related experiences. You can also attend over 100 student activities each semester. 

Support from the GWC Community

Most of the first-year classes, including the Discover What Matters course, are taught by full-time faculty and staff. They are available to provide extra guidance and assistance outside of course hours, and they attend student events and advise student organizations. 

Returning students provide additional support to freshmen as they transition to college by serving as new student orientation leaders, resident assistants, and peer mentors. Peer mentors also attend the Discover What Matters course labs with freshmen and plan specific activities that help connect freshmen to the GWC learning community. 

Discovery Program

The Discovery Program is a unique program of Aurora University offered only at GWC. Students accepted into the Discovery Program receive additional academic support while living in a residence hall, taking traditional college courses, and engaging in student activities. 

Leadership Opportunities

Freshmen are invited to participate in GWC’s Leadership Challenge Series, which helps students prepare for student leadership positions, including resident assistants, peer mentors, orientation leaders, and campus ambassadors. 

Discover What Matters Course

Engaging Learning Opportunities

  • Learn skills and foundational characteristics for college success through lectures, informed discussions, writing exercises, and experiential activities.
  • Work in groups and complete coursework with integrated academic, social, and service experiences.

Labs and Field Trips

  • Attend on-site activities to connect with GWC outside of the classroom.
  • Engage in hands-on learning in the local community.
  • Participate in a variety of experiences that are challenges-by-choice, such as sailing lessons, indoor rock climbing, kayaking, and horseback riding.

Career Preparation

  • Begin engaging with career exploration.
  • Discover how majors and passions can translate into a potential career.