Welcome to Your First Year at St. Edward’s!

Whether you’re a first-time freshman or a transfer student, our First-Year Experience (FYE) program will prepare you to make the most of your education on the hilltop. 

Starting on day one, you’ll get to know a team of people eager to support your success and well-being, including your success coach, peer mentor, professors and resident advisor, to name a few. They’ll work with you to create a personalized college experience enriched with opportunities to explore your interests and talents — on campus, in the Austin community and beyond.   

Build Foundations, Connections and Community

Your First-Year Experience is designed to help you build your future. You’ll develop the foundations needed for success in college, in your first job after graduation and in your chosen career. Here’s what FYE prepares you to do: 

  • Engage fully in a community of learners and scholars who are guided by our Holy Cross mission of educating both the mind and the heart — and become part of the Hilltopper family for life.
  • Delve into the core courses that underpin your major. You’ll be challenged to think critically, communicate well, solve problems from a moral and ethical perspective, and apply what you learn to making the world a better place.
  • Team up with your success coach and academic advisor to develop a personalized roadmap for your academic career. Your plan will bring together your major, classes, student activities, leadership roles, internships and more to steer you toward your goals.
  • Participate in student organizations and clubs, residence life and volunteer activities, and academic projects that spark meaningful interactions with your peers. You’ll make lifelong friendships in the process.
  • Get to know your professors, in the classroom and during office hours. Ask questions, debate ideas and collaborate with them on research and creative projects. You’ll cultivate professional connections, mentors and advocates for your success.
Success coach talking to student

Meet Your Success Team
At St. Edward’s, an entire team of people are ready to help you personalize your college experience. Discover who’s who, and learn about your customized roadmap for success.

Programs That Shape Your First Year

Students at orientation

Orientation Experience

During Orientation, you’ll get familiar with campus and all things St. Edward’s, and learn about the network of learning opportunities available to you. Best of all, you’ll meet fellow Hilltoppers in the process.

Move in on Anchors Day


Move-in day is the kick off for Anchors, a series of programs and festivities for first-year students that helps you transition to the hilltop, connect with your Anchors Herd, and get settled into your new home. 

Students at Hillfest

Welcome Days

Our Welcome Days span the first two weeks of the fall semester and are jam-packed with events, traditions and fun-filled activities that celebrate you and your family’s inclusion in the St. Edward’s community.

Common Theme

Each year, all first-year students read the same book over the summer and discuss it in their Freshman Seminar classes in the fall. This Common Theme inspires conversations across campus as well as on-campus events throughout the year that explore the theme. For fall 2023 we're excited to announce that the theme is Accessibility and our incoming students will read Disability Visibility by Alice Wong. You will receive a copy of the book at Orientation.

Students participate in Freshman Seminar experience

Freshman Seminar

These non-lecture classes generate thoughtful discussions with students and faculty and involve co-curricular activities on and off campus that center on the Common Theme or course topic.