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First Year Seminar

First Year Seminar: Exploring Social Tolerance

Nationally, students who enroll in a First Year Seminar (FYS) course produce a higher GPA, have higher retention rates at that school, and higher graduation rates. Whether you’re returning to college or starting your degree for the first time, First Year Seminar at Quincy College is designed to help make the transition to the learning community of Quincy College a successful one. This collaborative, student-centered course will focus on the key components of college success and explore the theme of social tolerance through John and Bert Jacobs’ Life is Good: The Book.

This collaborative, student-centered course encourages students to explore the common theme of social tolerance through the lens of the First Year Seminar curriculum. Students will leave this course as prepared, well-informed drivers of their education at Quincy College and beyond. First Year Seminar provides students with both the skill set and connections to the community that they need to be successful self-advocates of their education and career goals. The course is required for all students who are seeking an Associate’s degree and who have earned fewer than 12 credits from another accredited institution.

Learn more about First Year Seminar:

What are students saying about First Year Seminar?

FYS students share their takeaways from First Year Seminar:

  • “To give students new to college, or in my case already experienced, some insight and help in navigating college/careers, and simply to help open our minds to different perspectives and prepare us for a new, diverse environment.”
  • “In my opinion, first year seminar is to prepare you to be a better person and to learn how to respect yourself and others. Be aware of your surroundings and react appropriately to things that you may or may not agree too. First year seminar is also to gain knowledge that it is never too late to learn and you are capable.”
  • “To prepare you, or remind you of how to be in a college level course. Going over outlining and how to cite was very helpful after being out of school for 10 years.””
  • “First Year Seminar is mostly to get to know the school and the surroundings better. It helps the student navigate at an easier pace while at college. Also to help us educate about many other things that could benefit us in the future.”
  • “First Year Seminar has clarified what my path will be once I graduate here… I’ve been very anxious trying to figure out what career to go into and this class has helped me sort through that and helped me make the decision and plan that I need and fits me.”
  • “One thing that I took out of FYS is a lot of helpful tips on being a good student. I also feel that FYS gave me a deep understanding of the resources at Quincy College and how to access them.”
  • “I was able to re-learn how to do a lot of things that I forgot about after being out of school for a while. Learning how to cite in a research paper, looking sources up in the library and learning how to outline a book.”
  • “Having conflicting and different opinions, doesn’t mean that’s necessarily bad. As long as you can accept others views, and still stand by yours with a tolerant point of view.”
  • “First Year Seminar taught me many great lessons but the one thing that stood out is the diversity we have as a community.”

First Year Seminar Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and access all support services/policies/resources available at Quincy College.
  2. Use effective note taking methods to capture key points from lectures and texts.
  3. Apply information literacy skills to college-level research.
  4. Evaluate information/evidence from various sources using critical thinking.
  5. Model effective social and interpersonal communication skills as they relate to the course’s yearly theme.
  6. Show understanding of how to work in a dynamic, culturally diverse environment.
  7. Identify academic programs/career options available to Quincy College students.
  8. Develop an academic plan and select courses to achieve academic and career goals.
  9. Identify and model ethical/moral behavior in academic and career-related work.
  10. Evaluate the impact of the course’s yearly theme within the student’s specific FYS topic area.

Support for First Year Students

Quincy College recognizes the need for student support both during and after the first year. More specifically, we understand that remote learning is a new style of learning for many students. Therefore, in order to provide new students with effective support, both in-person and virtually, the First Year Seminar (FYS) encourages students to utilize the following support services while enrolled in FYS:

First Year Seminar Instructor

First Year Seminar instructors are full-time Quincy College faculty or full-time staff who are currently employed at the College. Our instructors are passionate about serving our students both in and outside of the classroom. All First Year Seminar instructors meet as a group, receive training and feedback, and share best practices throughout the semester. Your FYS instructor will be available to meet with you virtually and support you even after your FYS course is complete.

Academic Advisor

Both our Quincy and Plymouth campuses have full-time Academic Advisors who assist students in in taking ownership of their educational opportunities, becoming members of the Quincy College academic community, and realizing their academic and professional potential. All new students are strongly encouraged to meet with an Academic Advisor as they select courses, decide their program of study, and explore both academic and career options.
Academic Advisors are available to meet with students both in person and virtually. More information about setting up an appointment with an advisor can be found here.

Additionally, some students’ FYS instructors will also serve as their faculty advisors. QC students are able to enjoy the benefits of having both a faculty advisor, who can assist them with program and career-oriented questions, and the Academic Advising staff, who can assist with general program questions and registration information. FYS students will learn more about the functions of Academic Advising and will create their own academic plan as part of the FYS course.


Whether a student has chosen their program of study or is still exploring program options, all students should communicate and meet regularly with their course instructors. Quincy College’s talented faculty are experts in their field and can assist students as they navigate their classes and develop their educational plans. Faculty are also available to meet with students virtually.

Student Services

Check out the following support services that are available and ready to assist you with your transition to Quincy College. These services can be accessed both in-person and virtually:

FYS Common Book

The 2022-2023 First Year Seminar (FYS) common book is John and Bert Jacobs’ Life Is Good: The Book (2015). Through this motivational and inspiring book, FYS students will explore ten key “superpowers” that are accessible to us all: openness, courage, simplicity, humor, gratitude, fun, compassion, creativity, authenticity, and love. This story describes how brothers from Boston overcame obstacles and embraced all the opportunities that they were presented with. Through engaging activities, critical thinking, and ongoing dialogue, the meaningful messages of this book align with the learning outcomes of the First Year Seminar course.

FYS and the use of a common book promote community-building, belonging, and robust dialogue among new students. Additionally, themes such as grit, resiliency, growth mindset, and perseverance are present in all academic disciplines and career fields that our FYS students explore in this course. FYS instructors are able to tie their own areas of expertise to this theme as they facilitate discussions in this course. Community and inclusion are embedded into the FYS curriculum and overlap with many of the topics that are covered in this course, such as critical and creative thinking, goal setting, effective communication, and reflective writing.

Throughout the semester, students are given opportunities to express and share their own understanding of what it means to be a current Quincy College student. Through these thoughtful conversations, meaningful presentations, and opportunities to expand their own perspectives, students complete the FYS course with both specific strategies for success and a broader understanding of their community.

Quincy College Core Curriculum

What is a core curriculum? Most institutions of higher education have a core curriculum, which is comprised of foundational classes that all new students must take in order to earn a degree from their institution. The core curriculum is deemed to be the foundational course that all students must build upon as they work towards their degree.

The mission of the core curriculum at Quincy College is to provide students with a foundation of cognitive, communicative, and technical skills within an ethical framework essential for succeeding in both professional and educational endeavors in an increasingly diverse society. First Year Seminar is part of the College’s core curriculum. The course is required for all students who are seeking an Associate’s degree and who have earned fewer than 12 credits from another accredited institution. Failure to complete this course in the first semester could delay a student’s anticipated graduation date and ability to take other courses required for their program of study.

The Mindset Mondays audio series is produced by Quincy College and hosted by Meghan Cassidy, Quincy College Director of First Year Seminar and Retention Strategies. This series gives actionable advice, offers opportunities for meaningful reflection, discusses resources available to Quincy College students, and shares words of inspiration to assist First Year Seminar (FYS) students as they navigate uncertain and challenging times.

Listen to the tracks here:

More Resources

Students who are interested in learning more about strategies and tips that they can use during this challenging time are encouraged to contact Meghan Cassidy at to set up a time to talk more. Meghan is happy to meet with students via phone or video calls.

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