First-Year Experience Fall 2018 

(Check back for the listing of Fall 2019 opportunities.)

There are many things that set the Illinois Wesleyan experience apart. Beginning in your first year, IWU offers you exceptional opportunities to integrate the ways you learn and live, understand and explore, assimilate and innovate.

At Illinois Wesleyan, you will have both a community-based residential experience in your first year, and an academic one. 

First-Year Experience (FYE) courses are a unique opportunity for first-year students to interact with faculty and fellow students in meaningful ways while exploring topics beyond the classroom. FYEs offer a wide range of experiences out in the real world, moving the theoretical into the practical and building connections between students, peers and faculty – and a world of ideas.

First-Year Experience Scholars will participate in events that relate to their academic studies – such as an immersive behind-the-scenes experience at the Louisville Zoo, or engaging in activism or learning from prominent scholars – and in many cases, will travel over Spring Break to complete further study through visits to conferences or sites that relate to the course topics. These trips are funded through a fellowship. Students wishing to be part of the First-Year Experience program must submit an application which is due by April 15, 2018.

Most FYE opportunities are connected with a Gateway class, though a few are connected to other General Education categories.

Admission to a First-Year Experience program is based on materials you have already submitted to IWU, together with your brief response to a question in the application. If you plan to apply for more than one FYE program, please know you will be asked to rank them in order of your preference. Every effort will be made to pair applicants to their first choice, but as spaces are limited, it is helpful to know other programs you would enjoy. 

To apply for a spot in a First-Year Experience Program:

  • Review the course options below
  • Click the corresponding links to learn more about that program
  • Follow the link to apply
  • Fill out the application fully, including the 100-word (or less) essay question
  • Repeat process for other programs of interest
  • Applications are due by April 15, 2018 

Fall 2018 FYE Courses

Animal Studies Scholars Animal Studies Scholars

Do you have a passion for animals? Do you ever wonder what your dog is thinking or why your cat purrs? Do visits to the zoo energize you -- make you wonder, for instance, if seals have dreams? Or perhaps the confined elephant enclosures make you worry about their wellbeing? Did you have a favorite book or TV show with an animal character when you were growing up? Do you have one now? Have you always wanted to be, say, a veterinarian because you thought that was the only career path for someone interested in animals? (It’s not, by a long shot!)  If so, you may be a perfect fit to become an IWU Animal Studies Scholar!

Eckley Summer Scholars Citizen Scholars

What do the words “citizen” and “community” mean to you? What are the social dynamics that cause these ideas and constructs to evolve? What do scholars say about citizenship? Do you actually believe a campus has a “bubble” or are you willing to learn and engage beyond the classroom walls? If you are a citizen and a scholar and a change agent, we encourage you to apply to be an IWU First-Year Citizen Scholar.

creativity Creativity Scholars

Are you inquisitive? Do you have a desire to know and understand a topic beyond the surface level? Are you interested in a wide variety of subjects? Are you curious about different ways to view the human experience, including scientifically, artistically, and historically? Have you wondered how you might bring multiple interests to bear on your future professional life? If so, we encourage you to apply to be an IWU Creativity Scholar


Study Abroad First-Year Humanities Fellows

Do you have a passion for reading literature? Do you love to argue the finer points of a philosophical or religious debate? Do you like to contemplate how artists and thinkers engage with the most urgent questions of their time, and perhaps even do these things in another language? Do you wonder how you might someday integrate these interests into your professional life? If so, we encourage you to apply to be an IWU First-Year Humanities Fellow.

fye-global Global Titans

"Globally aware • Intellectually dare • Compassionately share"  

Do you like to travel and do you like experiencing other languages and cultures? Are you interested in examining world problems that affect politics, economics, or culture on a larger scale? Would you like to discuss global issues with your peers as part of a dedicated learning community? Do you want to become an informed citizen, and prepare to make a difference in the world? If so, we encourage you to apply to be an IWU Global TitanBreak the "bubble" and experience the world, from the first moment you arrive on campus!


fye innovation Innovation Fellows

Do you love imagining creative solutions to all kinds of problems? Do you think about finding new and innovative ways of helping other people? Do you like inventing and making new things? Do you want to learn how you might someday integrate your interests into your professional life? If you do, we encourage you to apply to be an IWU Innovation Fellow, a project-based learning experience where you can develop your passion for innovation, design, and entrepreneurship.

fye policy Policy and Ethics Partners

Should marijuana be decriminalized?  Should abortion be legal?  What government regulations, if any, should restrict access to firearms?  Some people like to avoid discussions of controversial political issues.  The Policy and Ethics Partners program is not for those people.  It is for students who like thinking critically about public policy debates, considering the best points on both sides.  It is for students who are interested in opportunities at IWU to explore the relation between morality and the law, while honing their argumentation skills.  If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply to be an IWU Policy and Ethics Partner.

fye youth Scholars for Youth Advocacy

Are you troubled by injustices that disadvantage certain youth populations? Do you want to learn more about what you can do to support youth? Are you eager to work directly with a non-profit to affect real change? Our Scholars for Youth Advocacy program is designed for first-year students and will engage you in campus and community activities that explore the complexities of advocacy for youth in our community. Even more, SYA gives you an opportunity to personally collaborate with local non-profit agencies to affect real change. Through SYA, you have the chance to learn about the everyday challenges of youth and to discover avenues for advocacy. If you are passionate about helping others; if you want to learn more about what you can do so support youth; if you believe in the power of advocacy, Scholars for Youth Advocacy is for you!


fye change Titans for Change

Do you have a passion for social justice? Do you admire those who expose inequality, protest injustice, and mobilize meaningful change? Do you like to contemplate how contemporary authors, artists, poets, and musicians engage with the most urgent questions of our time, and how such thinkers have influenced the leaders of movements such as LGBTQ+ Rights, Black Lives Matter, The Dreamer Movement, Standing Rock, and Me Too? Do you wonder how you might someday integrate your interest in activism into your professional life? If so, you are encouraged to apply to become an IWU Titan for Change.