First Year Studies

Through this portal you can find general information on First Year Seminar (first semester) and C & C: Composition and Communication (second semester). These two courses will help you navigate your way through other classes across campus. The focus in FYS is on reading, discussion, writing, and adapting to college life while the focus for C & C is critical reading, thesis-based writing, and public speaking.

If you have any questions, please feel to contact Leslie Werden, Director of First Year Studies; Shari Benson, Director of New Students; or your Passport instructor (also your first year advisor).

To learn more about Freshmen Orientation and the calendar of events, click here.


First Year Seminar

This first semester course provides students with an introduction and orientation to college through an academic experience they share with their classmates.  It is a four-credit, graded course taken by all first-year students and required for graduation. It provides a common experience for students as they make the transition to college. Each section works with a First Year Advisor in the Krone Advising Center to work on college information and course scheduling.

What to Expect in Class

The First Year Seminar introduces first year students to basic academic skills such as careful reading, critical thinking, and thoughtful writing – all essential to a successful college experience.  Students will:

  • learn about college experiences and survival skills (time management, study skills, multi-sensory learning, etc.)
  • discover what it means to have a liberal education and learn about Morningside Collge's Mission and Vision
  • read essays designed to engage them in critical thinking and develop interpretive discussion skills,
  • acquire technology information essential for achieving success in Morningside classes, and
  •  write a series of papers designed to help them prepare for writing requirements in other classes.

About the First Year Seminar Essays

You will write three formal papers during the semester: informative, process analysis, and persuasive.  Each of these papers will build on skills learned in the class (interpretive analysis), utilize readings from the class, and create a foundation for writing in other classes.

Informative Essay:  This essay will ask that you inform your reader about some aspect of one or more readings from class through description, comparison, contrast, definition, and/or causal analysis.

Process Analysis:  This essay will allow you the opportunity to describe a process from beginning to end, developing your abilities of careful analysis and clarity.

Persuasive Essay: This thesis-based essay will help you develop critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, and argumentative writing skills.

Composition & Communication

In C&C: Composition & Communication, students will continue to develop skills from their First Year Seminar class.  They will approach sophisticated readings thoughtfully and analytically, considering research methods, tactics, and sources.  They will explore a variety of source material and how that material is informed, argued with, biased, and utilized.  Working with sources, you will judge their credibility, usefulness, and perspectives.  Students will expand on your knowledge of research methodology by becoming more familiar with the library, internet sources, databases, print materials, interview processes, fieldwork, observation, investigation, etc.  This class will emphasize reading and responding to the larger culture (that beyond the classroom and the college) and applying your skills to reading, interpretations of readings, events, cultural artifacts, photographs, and more.  Written projects and public speeches should reveal the students' abilities to formulate opinions, conduct research, and compile an academic presentation of your work.