Described by Director Michael Cass as “The Mercer class,” First Year Seminar is a rite of passage for Mercer freshmen and transfer students. Upon completion, not only are students equipped with the tools necessary to succeed academically, but they also find themselves prepared to face life's unexpected challenges. For many students, the first year of college holds uncertainties and new experiences, and First Year Seminar is there to help students succeed as they make the adjustment to college. From dedicated faculty who are sensitive to the needs of first-year students, to enthusiastic preceptors who still vividly remember their own first year, to fellow classmates who are also living through this unique transition, students will find someone there to give them the support they need.

FYS is a two-semester program, the first semester devoted to “Composing the Self.” Once students have explored their own identity, they are ready to begin the second semester's focus, “Engaging the World.” Both topics explore texts from traditional and modern literature, philosophy, religion, history, political science, and other areas of inquiry, complemented by a myriad of speakers, movies, concerts, theatrical performances, and other events outside of the traditional classroom environment. In addition to the standard requirements of the First Year Seminar, experiential sections have the opportunity to tutor at a local elementary school, go camping on Wilderness Weekend, and participate in community service projects both semesters.