Whenever he thought about it, he felt terrible. And so, at last, he came to a fateful decision. He decided not to think about it. ~John-Roger and Peter McWilliams
Question #78994 posted on 09/06/2014 8:24 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Can you enlighten me on the history of Freshman Academy? Or is that history lost to the sands of time? Looking through the archives, it looks like it may have been done away with sometime around the 2009 - '10 school year.

---Portia vaguely remembers thinking it sounded lame

A:

Dear Portia,

I know a little bit of the history and will tell you what I know. It's far from complete. 

Freshman Academy began before 2002, but I cannot find a solid starting date (2002 was the first mention that I found). Initially, it was a program tied with the Honors program. From what I understand, students participating in Freshman Academy lived together and had a hall (or floor in a hall) dedicated to them; one for men and one for women. They had 2 or 3 classes that they would all take together and many of these were Honors classes. I don't think there was much of a choice between classes for them to take, they typically all took those "envelopes" of classes together. They also had mentors that were there to help them. Overall I have heard that the program was great and people really like it. It was very well received and was a way for incoming freshmen to meet others, gain a support group in hard classes, learn skills such as working together, and become adjusted to college.

Possibly because it was so well received, the university decided to expand the program in 2010 under a new name, Freshman Mentoring. There were a few significant changes. The program was made mandatory for all incoming freshmen. This eliminated the idea of living with others in your envelope. It also detached the program from the Honors program; though some envelopes are still honors classes, the majority are not. The classes offered also changed from small classes primarily full of students from the Freshman Academy program to a mix of classes, often with many other students. The "mentoring" aspect was emphasized and broadened. I've heard that the mentoring has become a little bit more "forced" because of this change. I feel like in general students are neutral or negative about the program, which is a shame since its predecessor was so popular.

The Freshman Mentoring program has had a few minor changes since 2010, but in large part has remained the same. Though many Freshmen complain about it, it's likely that the program is at least somewhat useful overall. The concept has definitely been changed, but it came from a solid idea of quickly integrating incoming freshmen with the university and helping them to find their bearings.

-Ozymandias

posted on 09/07/2014 11:01 p.m.
I can tell you that I attended something similar to Freshman Academy in Fall of 1991. I don't remember if it was called that. It was scheduled for a couple days before the general Freshman orientation and it was for those in the Honors classes. We were assigned to Y Groups that mixed us up with those in other Honors dorms so we would know more people than just those in our hall. I went to the first day and then had to miss the rest of it and Freshman orientation because I had to start work.

So, regardless of the name, the practice has been around for a fair number of years.

- Some of my fellow Freshmen have Freshmen now.
posted on 09/07/2014 11:01 p.m.
Dear Portia,

I participated in Freshman Academy in 1998, which I think was pretty early in the program. It wasn't tied to the Honors program at that point, although some of the classes available in the various envelopes were honors classes. Each envelope consisted of 3 types of classes-- 1 large general education class like American Heritage or Biology, 2 sections of REL 121 (first half of the Book of Mormon), and 4 sections of Freshman Writing (which at the time was ENG 100, I believe). In my envelope, which was BIO 100, one of the writing sections was an Honors equivalent of freshman English called Intensive Writing, and since I had AP English credit, that's the one I took. The way it worked was that the four English classes fed into the religion classes (two English classes each), which then fed into the large 120-person Biology class. My freshman ward at Deseret Towers comprised two envelopes of Freshman Academy, so half of the people in your ward were in your big class, 1/4 were in your religion class, etc. My roommate and I were both in the same English class, so we had at least 3 classes together, but that was not always the case-- I know of a couple of roommates who were separated for the English sections, but had religion and of course Biology together. I don't think any roommates were in different envelopes, but if I remember correctly, not everyone on our floor in U-Hall were in the same envelope.

There was no mentorship component at all that I remember, although of course living with the people that shared some of the same classes made making study groups a lot easier. It only ran for Fall semester.

I'm actually really glad I did it, as it helped me to make friends a lot faster than I otherwise would have, which made my Freshman year so much more pleasant. Plus, we read The Fellowship of the Ring in my Intensive Writing class, which introduced me to Tolkien. :)

--Wahlee, who wrote her MA thesis on Lord of the R