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First Year Success Mission Statement


 Students who participate in the First Year Success Program will be able to:

 Demonstrate self-efficacy and self-advocacy by making use of university resources and successfully navigating the university culture and systems;

  • Use the academic skills that promote student success, such as student-focused habits of mind and research abilities;
  • Define the elements of financial literacy that lead to college completion;
  • Consider information that leads to career exploration and the construction of an academic path that supports career choice.
  • Recognize the hallmarks of cultural competence that contribute to university and global citizenry;
  • Identify means and ways of integration into the campus community in order to promote a sense of belonging; and
  • Demonstrate the growth mindset that leads to persistence and degree completion.



First Year Success increases student persistence and success while fostering a passion for lifelong learning in a nurturing scholarly community. The program serves the needs of first-year-to MSU Denver students through collaborative, engaging methods that:

  • Foster on- and off-campus relationships;
  • Connect learning to compelling issues; and
  • Are culturally relevant.

The First Year Success Program will rely on partnerships within Student Academic Success (including Student Persistence, Tutoring, and other entities), Academic Advising, and Career Services to support first-year students and move toward the successful achievement of our program outcomes.

“The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow.”  Paulo Freire

The First Year Success (FYS) Program provides opportunities for MSU Denver students to maximize success in their first year of college through linked courses, active learning, and access to enhanced resources. Suitable both for traditional students and those whose time constraints might not enable them to otherwise immerse themselves in college life, FYS provide students with many benefits designed to enrich their time here, such as a collegial environment, supplemental programming, and enhanced support services designed to promote academic and personal success.

  • FYS Course Offerings – All entering students with 29 credit hours or less will take a set of linked courses in their first and/or second semester.  Most courses assigned in learning community cohorts meet General Studies requirements (see course listing for specific details)  These linked courses create a sense of community among MSU Denver students, allowing them to experience both the benefits of being part of a large, urban university and the intimacy of a small liberal arts college.

  • Enhanced Academic Support – To support community building and facilitate a deeper understanding of course content, students participate in weekly study groups with other classmates. In many math classes, a separate recitation section is led by a math recitation leader (with at least a Bachelor’s degree in the subject) and a math recitation mentor (a trained peer who has successfully completed the course). These recitation sections provide a guided environment for students to work through homework and develop a stronger understanding of course material.

  • Peer AmbassadorsSuccessful past participants of the FYS program  serve as peer mentors to current students. Peer Ambassadors answer questions about the program and provide mentorship and support to learning community participants throughout the first year to provide appropriate campus resources and inform students about program events and campus activities.  Their mission is to “...establish mentoring relationships in order to connect first year students to a diverse, supportive, and welcoming community to ensure a successful transition into MSU Denver.”

  • MSU Denver Convocation – All freshmen are invited to an exciting welcome program prior to the Fall semester during which they meet peer leaders and other members of their learning community. Each participating student receives a “student success kit” to help them  on their way.

  • Opportunities for Involvement Outside of Class – from specially designed on-campus co-curricular events to off campus civic engagement projects,  you’ll have the chance to connect with each other, MSU Denver, and the world.

  • Professors Invested in Your Success – Instructors of FYS courses are provided with resources and professional development opportunities to enhance their ability to provide you with active and engaging learning environments.  

Connect With Other Students – Empower Your Education – Grow as Scholars and Leaders

Your Success is Our Success

For more information regarding the First Year Success program, contact the First Year Success office at  303-615-2010 or; or visit us in the Student Success Building, suite 217.

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Have questions about FYS?

You can contact the Learning Communities and First Year Success department at:


Phone: 303-615-2010


Student Success Building 217
890 Auraria Parkway
Denver, CO