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First-Year: Experience

The Westfield State Experience

The first year of college is an exciting time – new friends, opportunities, responsibilities and activities!  Westfield State sees the first year as a time of transition and growth. 

We’re here to help you find your place in our diverse and vibrant campus community.  To develop a close relationship amongst students The Westfield State Experience offers a number of first-year only activities, including First-Year Convocation, a ceremony welcoming students to Westfield State; a First-Year READ book that all students are required to read and an accompanying author visit; and first-year only academic classes.

 First Year Convocation

Opening Day at Westfield State (i.e., the day prior to the first day of classes) is when first-year students kick-off the new academic year at a gathering designed exclusively for them. 

The First Year Convocation brings all first-year students together with faculty, staff and the university’s President who gather to officially welcome you to Westfield State, discuss the coming year and reflect on the value of academia.  The First Year Convocation is a great way to share a common first experience with your entire class. 

After the First Year Convocation, the whole campus gathers on the green for a celebratory barbeque (pictured above) with fantastic food, music and other activities.

 First-Year Only Classes

While it is true that college courses are more challenging than high school courses, The Westfield State Experience is designed to help you transition smoothly. Every new student will be enrolled in two core courses comprised of first year students only so you can share your transition with your peers.

With our first-year only courses, you’ll quickly build a community of friends and begin professional relationships with classmates.  Faculty who teach these courses are trained to work with first-year students, taking time in class to discuss advising, campus activities, roommate issues, campus culture and other issues of particular concern to students transitioning to college.  

You’ll soon come to see your first year only classes as a place where you can ask questions and feel comfortable knowing that your peers are glad you asked!


 The First-Year READ

The Westfield State Experience starts before you even arrive on campus because in the summer, we’ll let you know the title of the First-Year READ. Also called a “common book,” the first-year read is a book selected to be read by all first-year students. 

These special sessions are an additional way for you to meet other first year students and engage with faculty from a variety of disciplines.  You’ll talk about this book in one or more of your classes in the fall and you will have the opportunity to attend lectures and demonstrations related to the book all semester long. Towards the end of the fall semester, you will have the chance to meet with and discuss the book with the author when he/she visits the campus to meet exclusively with first-year students! 

One of the best things about the First-Year READ is it can be an instant conversation starter with your first-year classmates – just ask “What’d you think about the First-Year READ?” - and your new friendship has begun!



My First Year Resources »



I live with four roommates from different cultures, which makes cooking interesting. I taught them how to cook southern fried chicken! No matter what I’m doing at Westfield State—biology club or neuroscience club, aerobics, mixed martial arts, peer mentoring, volunteering—there’s always someone I’m happy to see who is happy to see me, too.