Planning Your First-year Course Schedule

A liberal arts education prepares you to be a life-long learner, providing you with the abilities and habits of mind that allow you to take control of your future.

The First-year Program, including a First-year Seminar and a First-year Writing Course, will immerse you in the various academic skills, methods, and habits you will need to be successful at Cornell. Of course, you'll register for seven other courses in addition to these. Registration for courses during your first year at Cornell takes place in three stages, beginning before you set foot on campus. Remember that, with the exception of your First-year Seminar, your advisor will be a vital part of all your course selections.

Block One: First-year Seminar

Your first months in college are important because they introduce you to college life and establish a foundation for your academic success. You will also be adjusting to One Course At A Time, a schedule that involves an intensive learning environment requiring strong study skills and good time management. Therefore, all students who enter Cornell with fewer than two college credits earned after high school must register for a First-year Seminar (FYS). 

These courses will give special attention to learning and studying under the OCAAT format. The academic content will be as rigorous as other courses, but you will be adjusting to the calendar under the leadership of a professor who is experienced with OCAAT, has an interest in teaching new students, and can offer helpful suggestions for a successful Cornell academic experience.

Submit your seminar preferences

Please study the First-year Seminar descriptions listed on the First-year Program website, and submit your top six choices using the seminar preference form. Registration is first-come, first-served, and the preference form also contains answers to frequently asked questions. For further information or assistance in making your course selection, you may also contact Kate Fashimpaur, Coordinator of Academic Support and Advising. 

Blocks Two through Four

You will meet with your advisor during NSO to select courses for blocks two through four (remember, you've already selected your block one  First-year Seminar prior to arriving on campus.) One of these courses may be a First-year Writing Course -- if not, you can register for one in blocks five through eight. You will select an initial list of courses in which you may be interested for blocks two and three. Don't be surprised, though, if your conversation with your advisor reveals new and exciting options you may not have considered. You will finalize your course selections a few weeks into block one -- don't worry, you'll get plenty of instructions about that when the time comes.

Blocks Four through Eight

In late October, you and your advisor will work together again to plan your schedule for the remainder of your first year at Cornell. By the time you begin block four, it is likely that you will have taken the prerequisites for several more advanced courses, so your options will increase and you can begin to explore an area in more depth if you wish to do so.