Bates College First-Year Experience

At Bates we strive to ensure all of our First-Year students feel seen, included, and welcome. The First-Year Experience begins the summer prior to arriving to campus and spans throughout a student’s first year of College. The values and components that make up the Bates College First-Year Experience are included below.

First-Year Experience Values

The First-Year Experience is comprised of a variety of programs that lay the foundation for your undergrad experience and ensures a smooth transition into the Bates Community.

It is guided by and grounded in values central to the Bates community that students will engage with throughout their first-year at Bates. We have provided further explanation of these values below.


Equity, inclusion, access, anti-racism & educational justice are a commitment to ensuring that all members of our community are equipped with the resources needed to attain their goals and to contribute to a community that supports the wellbeing of all of its members. 


Community is central to the student experience at Bates College. You will encounter it in your residence halls and classrooms, on athletic fields and in office spaces, on campus and beyond. It is a fundamental point of intersection for the College’s values of equity and educational justice, academic inquiry and exploration, purpose and identity, health and wellness, and sense of place.


A residential liberal arts education is a model of academic exploration grounded in openness that deeply values encounters with the unexpected. It is possible only through engagement in community with others as well as through ardor and rigor on one’s own. It aspires to provide opportunities within and beyond the classroom so that students can develop holistically. Students can connect their questions, experiences, and interests not only across their classes, but also between their classes and their co-curricular exploration. The inquiry can be problem driven and emphasizes approaches from distinct perspectives, often recognizing that solutions come through cross-pollination of ideas and approaches.


Your identity is constantly being created by your relationships, life experiences, cultures, family, talents, and worldviews. Who you are in the classroom may be different than who you are with a group of friends, who you are in the dance studio or who you are as an athlete; at Bates we honor your complexity and encourage you to explore and embrace the many layers within yourself. Purpose is about your Why. When we think about purpose at Bates, it is in relationship to others: the impact you have on the people in your communities, the environment, and the wider world. The process of exploring who you are cultivates meaning in your life and brings you a sense of purpose.


Health Education at Bates strives to empower students to engage with their health from a values-based, intentional lens. Understanding health and wellness as a multidimensional, lifelong, practice within individuals, the Bates community, and the broader world, we aim to equip students with the knowledge and skills to think critically about their experiences to advance and inform positive wellness-decisions that are right for them. Health Education at Bates actively works to disrupt systems of power and oppression inherent in this field.


Your college experience will be defined not only by People — the people you meet, befriend, and learn from — but also by Place. One of the great things about attending a small residential college is that you become part of a new world filled with new places, many of which will wind up being deeply meaningful to you. These places will help shape your college experience, and sometimes even your future path in life.

First-Year Experience Components

Summer Resources and Orientation Lyceum Page

All students will be given access to the Orientation Lyceum page. This page is filled with resources for students to begin acclimating oneself to the Bates community. Students will receive communication as resources become available. 

AMAs (Ask Me Anything)

Throughout the summer students will have the opportunity to attend virtual, live AMA sessions – Ask Me Anything. These sessions are hosted by various campus partners and are a great way for students to ask questions and get to know campus partners.

On Campus New Student Orientation

Orientation is designed to welcome new students to campus and provides students the opportunity to begin forming friendships with their peers. In addition students will meet campus partners, student leaders, learn about resources offered on campus, and participate in interactive activities on and off campus. Students will become familiar with the Lewiston / Auburn area and campus.

Additional Info- Bates College Orientation

First-Year Seminar (FYS)

The FYS is a core academic component of the first-year experience. It serves as a critical element of the general education program being designated as the Writing 1 course.  This course is a foundational seminar that offers a myriad of ways to apply and improve reading, writing, communication, and presentation skills. First-Year Seminars are taught by faculty across academic units about a number of topics and serve as the introductory writing course at Bates College.

Pre-Major Academic Advising

The FYS instructor serves as a student’s first academic advisor (pre-major advisor) until the point of major declaration which occurs midway through the sophomore year. The FYS instructor/pre-major advisor partners with students on their academic exploration, referring them to relevant resources as well as engaging with other members of their advising team, i.e., their student support advisor, when and if appropriate. 

Additional Info – FYS and Pre-Major Advising Portal

First-Year Experience (FYE) Workshops

The FYE Workshops consist of a set of new programs and existing resources, which are organized around a clear set of 6 values, and which explain key components necessary for successful transition to College. It is grounded in student development and student affairs research that suggests that student comprehension increases when programs have thematic coherence and resonate with student needs (e.g., information is provided when it is most useful or applicable to their lives).

First-Year Centers (FYC) (Residence Life)

First Year Centers (FYCs) are small residential communities where first-year students are supported by a member of the Residence Life Staff, a Junior Advisor (JA). FYCs are designed to foster inclusive spaces, to nurture authentic relationships, and to promote intentional living practices. There are three kinds of FYCs. Most FYCs are located in larger residence halls with multiple class years where new students can interact with a cross-section of other class years and learn from the experiences of older peers. The Healthy Living communities of Clason House are substance-free and thrive without the presence of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Finally, the First Year Houses, Milliken and Frye Houses, are home to FYCs where students live only with other first-year students and experience college together in close-knit and cozy communities.

Additional Info – First Year Centers

First-Year First Weekend (FYFW)

This is a collection of programs during the first weekend of the Fall semester after the start of classes. Programs are organized by campus partners including but not limited to the Office of Campus Life, Harward Center for Community Partnerships, Office of Intercultural Education, Multifaith Chaplaincy, and Center for Purposeful Work. These programs encourage further co-curricular exploration by students and opportunities to link the curricular and co-curricular, and they foster community-building across class years.