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The First-Year Program

The First-Year Program at Westminster College is an innovative educational experience required of all new students. It is designed to introduce you to the philosophy and practice of a liberal arts education and equip you with skills essential to your success at college and in life beyond Westminster College. This program seeks to develop the whole student, and thus involves both academics and the social and co-curricular opportunities which support them.



The formal academic portion of the program is composed of four classes you will take over the course of your first two semesters. These classes are Westminster 101, Inquiry 111, Writing 111, and Speech 111.

WESTMINSTER 101: This course serves to introduce students to life at Westminster College and to assist them in making a successful transition to higher education. Students will learn how to take advantage of opportunities for personal and academic growth while on campus and to develop strategies for personal and academic success.

INQUIRY 111/211: Introduction to a Liberal Arts Education. Inquiry is designed to introduce students to the life of the mind and engage them in liberal learning. All first-time, full-time college students who enter Westminster College in fall semester take INQ 111 in their first semester. Transfer students and students who begin their Westminster College experience in the spring semester take Inquiry 211, which has outcomes and objectives similar to Inquiry 111, but was designed for students who have more college or life experience than traditional first-year students.

Both Inquiry courses are structured so that, following completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Articulate and practice the values and methods of a liberal arts education.
  • Engage, experience and explain different ways of knowing.
  • Pursue interdisciplinary study and discussion of important issues.

WRITING 111: Writing. Writing is a valuable and necessary tool for the investigation, exploration, analysis, evaluation and expression of ideas and experiences encountered in Inquiry 111. First-year students receive instruction and practice in essential skills and forms of written expression. The course in writing capitalizes on the substance of the Inquiry course to motivate learning-specific skills in written expression and to enhance teaching and learning in Inquiry. WRI 111 or an approved equivalent is required of all first-year students.

SPEECH 111: Oral Communication. Like writing, the mastery of oral expression skills is essential for success in college, a vocation, and throughout life. The first-year course in oral communication provides a basic grounding in these skills. Oral communication capitalizes on the substance of the Inquiry course to motivate learning-specific skills in oral expression, and to enhance teaching and learning in Inquiry. SPE 111 or an approved equivalent is required of all first-year students.

For more information regarding these courses, please refer to the Westminster College Undergraduate Catalog.


A sense of community is important to the people of Westminster College, so much so that we often refer to Westminster as a "family." Therefore, the development of community is an essential component of your Westminster experience and the First-Year Program. Orientation is your introduction to this community and a vital part of your social life here.



The co-curriculum at Westminster College is a rich one. Student organizations that support your academic studies, service opportunities offered in and out of class, leadership opportunities, and internship experiences are only a few examples of all that is available to enhance and deepen your education at Westminster. Your introduction to the co-curriculum is our First Year Student Summer Reading Program. The program is a collaborative effort of the Division of Student Affairs and the Inquiry Program, and it provides an enjoyable way for our students to continue to hone their critical thinking skills during the summer through the exploration of a selected literary work.