First-year students march through the arches on the St. Paul, University of St. Thomas campus.

First-Year Experience

The First-Year Experience is designed to give you a foundational experience that will help you succeed at St. Thomas and give you a sense of belonging and community during your first year. The small class sizes mean professors will know important things about you, like your name and how you learn — and as an added benefit, smaller classes make it easier to build friendships. The friends you make at St. Thomas will be part of your social and support network while in college, and after, as you look to turn great relationships into a fulfilling career.

The First-Year Experience consists of a course called Foundations for College Success and a learning community. To fulfill the learning community requirement, you must participate in either a Living Learning Community (LLC) or the Common Good Learning Community (CGLC).

University of St. Thomas arches in the spring.

Foundations for College Success

Foundations for College Success is a First-Year Experience course designed to provide students with knowledge and skills that will help them succeed at St. Thomas. This 1-credit course educates our students about university academic and social expectations, values, and resources.  Topics in the course range from campus engagement to wellbeing.

Living Learning Community

These specialized living environments help connect students with similar academic interests in and out of the classroom.

Students will take one Living Learning Community (LLC) course in the fall of their first year, and then live in the same community. Those same students participate in out-of-class learning activities with their LLC cohort. This enhances learning and helps build a relationship with faculty teaching the course. These courses will meet either a Core or major requirement.

Keep the following in mind, if you are interested in an LLC:

  • You will be pre-registered for LLC course(s)
  • You will move in early to meet your LLC cohort and faculty
  • You must live with a roommate who is also in your same LLC

Common Good Learning Community

The Common Good Learning Community (CGLC) provides students with an opportunity to explore the University's mission-to advance the common good-through a wide range of academic topics. Students will explore how being an active participant in the common good will broaden their education and guide them as they continue into life after St. Thomas.

In the fall of their first year, students will take two Common Good Learning Community courses from different academic areas and FYEX 150, a 0-credit path where students participate in out-of-class experiences related to the the common good. CGLC courses meet either a Core, major or minor requirement.

Keep the following in mind if you are interested in a CGLC:

  • You can choose or be assigned a roommate who is also in the common good learning community
  • Your answers on your housing preference form considered with other factors will determine where you live on-campus

Explore Options for Living Learning Communities

Aquinas Scholars Honors

The Aquinas Scholars Honors living learning community is designed for and limited to First-Year students who have been admitted to the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program. The program is designed to enrich the educational experience of the school's most talented and dedicated students by creating a community of scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the ideals of a liberal arts education.

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Catholic Studies: Telos

The Telos living learning community explores God’s grandeur through the whole of life. While this LLC experience includes community prayer and Mass, it is also about long dinner conversations full of laughter, intimate fireside chats in Sitzmann Hall and fun cultural activities with classmates and faculty. The Telos LLC provides the option for a two-year experience, so you have the time to create friendships that can last a lifetime. Open to students from all academic fields of study together to build deep friendship, strong faith, and meaningful careers.

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Economic Tools for Policy and Business

Economics, sometimes referred to the science of common sense, is an area of study deeply rooted in the principles of resource stewardship. It has well developed tools to frame and analyze situations that lead to more effective and efficient outcomes – all for the common good. This community is relevant for students of all majors, and interests (e.g., business, international, law, managerial, environment, health care, public policy, data analytics). Students will build relationships with other ECON 251 and 252 students and will meet with members of the Twin Cities community who use economic tools in their daily decision making. By understanding how these tools are used by individuals in households, business, government, and international agencies, students will become more thoughtful and purposeful in their careers and personal decisions.

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For students interested in majoring in journalism, digital media arts (video and audio production, graphic design, film, web design, photography) and strategic communications (advertising and public relations).

The Emerging Media (eMedia) living learning community will appeal to students who are interested in majoring in journalism, digital media arts (video and audio production, graphic design, game design, web design, photography) as well as strategic communication (advertising and public relations). If you have high school experience making videos or a podcast, writing for a student newspaper, or creating a yearbook, this should be in your wheelhouse. This LLC includes a one-semester, one-credit internship with the St. Thomas student-run news organization, Tommie Media, wherein students will explore, learn, and apply the skills found in eMedia classes.

This LLC requires a one-semester, one-credit internship with the St. Thomas student-run news and multimedia organization, TommieMedia. Students in TommieMedia actively contribute in areas such as news reporting, video journalism, graphic design, web design, audio podcasting, advertising or public relations. Students will work in the TommieMedia office for two shifts per week and attend a weekly staff meeting.

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Emerging Scholars for Justice

For students interested in creating more equity, promoting diversity, and building power in their communities for social change.

The Emerging Scholars living learning community is for students who seek to become engaged leaders in social justice. This LLC brings together students who are interested in creating more equity, promoting diversity, and building power in their communities for social change. Building on foundations in theology, literature, and history, students will explore their identity and culture in its deep contexts. Doing so will prepare them for socially engaged scholarship and leadership that will improve their communities and contribute to the common good, regardless of their chosen major or field. NOTE: First-Year students who are Dease Scholars and Ciresi Walburn Leadership Fellows are required to participate in this LLC.

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Healthcare Professions

Learn about different options for healthcare careers and discuss strategies for strengthening professional school applications.

Healthcare Professions living learning community members will be able to develop lasting relationships with students who are considering a career in the healthcare field. Members of this LLC learn about different options for healthcare careers and will discuss strategies for how to strengthen their professional school applications through patient contact experience, human service volunteering, and test preparation. 

NOTE: Students participating in this LLC need to complete the Math Placement test. For more information about math placements, please visit the Math Placement site.

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Helping Professions

For students who are sure that making a difference is an important part of their future profession. This LLC will live and learn in a community of helpers, changemakers, and advocates and explore the many ways they could use a St. Thomas degree to help people and make a positive impact in people’s lives and communities.

The Helping Professions LLC features a community engaged course, Intro to Sociology, where students learn to understand the connections between the individual and larger social and cultural forces while also applying that learning outside of the classroom environment working with children and youth at the Catholic Charities Family Service Center. The Helping Professions LLC is ideal for students who want to dive into their first year exploring how communities and networks can come together to solve problems collectively and create lasting change -- for the common good.

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Literary and Digital Storytelling

Designed for students interested in how we tell stories as individuals and communities. Students will learn how to analyze what stories mean in literary and digital spaces while also developing skills for crafting thoughtful stories that are persuasive and socially just. The LLC will also prepare students interested in majoring in a range of disciplines, such as literature, creative writing, professional writing, communication studies, digital media arts, pre-law, strategic communication, marketing, and data analytics. The goal of the LLC is to build a close-knit community with shared interests in storytelling and to help students connect those interests to their academic, professional, and personal lives. If you're a student who loves writing, reading, watching films, playing video games, or creating your own content, this is the LLC for you!

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Connect with clinical faculty and explore key elements of the nursing program with the Morrison Family College of Health. The Nursing Living Learning Community connects students interested in pursuing a degree in nursing. The field of nursing needs more professionals who approach health care from a whole-person perspective: recognizing the many factors that contribute to a person's health and well-being and advocating for health equity and social justice. This LLC will connect you with nursing faculty and the communities where you will provide care and collaboration. Through out-of-classroom experiences, students will explore the fundamentals of becoming holistic nursing professionals.

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Opus Business

Connects students interested in any concentration within the Opus College of Business. Students will live and learn with fellow business students, building relationships with each other and their business faculty. Through out of classroom experiences, students will explore the fundamentals of business, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

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Pathways to Engineering (P2E)

For students who are interested in the field of engineering.

The Pathways to Engineering (P2E) living learning community is specifically designed for students who are interested in the field of engineering. This LLC will have access to unique events, project workspaces, and one-on-one mentoring and advising from P2E faculty. P2E is for to all engineering majors; Mechanical, Electrical, Computer and Civil Engineering.

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Psychology and Neuroscience (PAN)

Explore the breadth of Psychology, with a focus on the scientific process and our many ways of knowing.

Psychology and Neuroscience (PAN) living learning community will explore the breadth of Psychology, focusing on the scientific process and our many ways of knowing. Through psychological research and out of classroom experiences, students will engage in how to apply the knowledge found to address everyday problems in support of the common good.

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Science Discovery Scholars

For students considering Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geology, Mathematics, Neuroscience and Physics majors.

The Science Discovery Scholars living learning community is designed to foster a community of science-minded individuals, providing networking and relationship-building opportunities with classmates paired with support and guidance from outstanding faculty and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences.
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Study of Sport

Actively engage on and off campus to watch, discuss and connect with the world of sport.

The Study of Sport Living Learning Community is for students who are interested in sport in any context. This LLC will bring together students across multiple disciplines united by their passion for sports. This LLC will take advantage of opportunities on and off campus to watch, discuss and engage in sports of all kinds while smoothing the transition to college by living and learning with peers who share their interests, building relationships with faculty outside of the classroom and engaging with their course content at LLC events and activities.
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Actively examine important environmental issues facing humanity today and engage with local community partners doing sustainability work.

The Sustainability living learning community will engage students in experiential activities to understand the complexity of key environmental themes and explore sustainable solutions. The LLC will build a close-knit community while camping and completing case studies, computer mapping exercises, and outdoor field work. The LLC will also explore local companies using sustainable methods or developing sustainable products as part of their business plan.

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If you have any at all, they will be answered at your orientation. If there’s something too important to wait, contact our admissions office.