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First Year Experience

First Year Timeline

step 1 iconWelcome to Pace! What’s Next?

CONGRATULATIONS! This is where your journey begins. Once you have received your acceptance packet from Pace University filled with important information and key dates, you will be directed to register for a Summer Orientation date. Our Summer Orientation program is required for all new students and will fully prepare you for the Pace experience in the fall semester. If you are still deciding between schools, our Orientation experience will help you understand why Pace is the right choice.

Orientation is designed to provide you with an introduction to all aspects of the Pace University community to ensure that your transition will be easy, successful, and full of new opportunities. You will get to know our Orientation Leaders at Pace, upper-class students that will guide you through the two day Orientation experience. Orientation includes an overnight stay in our residence halls and will provide the foundation for all the information you need to start your Pace journey.

At Orientation, you will also meet administrators, advisors and faculty members, as well as other incoming new students. In addition, you will begin to experience what living and attending school in New York City is like before the fall semester begins.

Orientation will include:

Further details about Orientation are available in your welcome packet and also on the Student Development and Campus Activities website. Once you are ready, please register for Orientation! We look forward to seeing you this summer!

-The FYE Team

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step 2 iconPrepare For Your First Semester

After your Summer Orientation experience, keep in mind the following information before the fall semester begins.

First Semester Schedule

At the end of Orientation you will receive your first semester schedule. This schedule is based on your major, your placement test results, any previous credits you bring into Pace, and the information you selected on your course selection questionnaire. If there are any adjustments to your schedule needed after Orientation, please make sure to contact The FYE Office. Reasons for schedules changes can include: Credit from a college level course or advanced placement course taken in high school or a change in major. Sometimes, you may have a course on your schedule that you didn’t necessarily choose, but fulfills one of our Pace core requirements. We can discuss changing it, however, as we move closer to the fall, availability of courses diminishes and it becomes more challenging to make schedule changes.

You can access your Pace schedule through the Pace Portal with your standard Pace login and password. Once in your portal, you can click on the Student tab -> Registration Grades and Tuition -> Student Schedule. Sometimes, classroom assignments or Professors for courses can change or be listed as To Be Determined, so it is recommended you double check your schedule online before the beginning of the semester and confirm your classroom location.

College Credit Or Advanced Placement Courses

As mentioned above, Pace can accept college level courses from other institutions. If you have taken a college level class in high school, you will need to have an official transcript from the college associated with that course sent to Pace University. If you send this information prior to the fall semester, the Admission Office at Pace can evaluate the transcript and determine the transfer credit equivalency. Pace accepts a C grade or higher for college level courses.

In addition, many students take Advanced Placement courses in high school. These courses are graded on a scale up to 5, and Pace will accept a grade of 4 or higher for Advanced Placement courses. In order for Pace to review and process these scores and apply them as credit, you will need to send your official AP exam scores to the Admission Office through the College Board. If you do not request these scores be sent to Pace, we will not be able to give you credit for them.

Purchasing College Textbooks

The first step to purchasing textbooks is to understand which books are required for your courses. You can do this online at Pace’s Bookstore by entering the Course Registration Number (CRN) associated with your course, which can be found on your first semester schedule. The price of college textbooks can be an unexpected expense when you first begin college, and can vary greatly in cost.

However, there are options to save money on textbooks. Consider buying used books instead of new, but always make sure the used book is the correct edition requested by your Professor. In addition, our college bookstore gives an option to rent most textbooks. Renting books requires you to return them when the semester is over, so you want to make sure to keep them in good condition. You may also want to carefully consider which books you rent, as opposed to buy. You may not want to return a book if it is something related to your major, or if you want to refer back to it in the future.

Lastly, you can go online and do a quick search for other websites that rent and sell used/new college textbooks. However, when buying a textbook online, please account for shipping time and the start of classes. You would not want to fall behind on any assignments or reading because you are waiting to receive your textbook in the mail.

Living In The Residence Halls

If you decide to live on the Pace campus and become part of our Residence Life Community, you will be living with one or two other roommates. This may very well be the first time you will be sharing a room with someone, which can be exciting, scary, and overwhelming in the beginning.

We suggest that once you know whom you will be rooming with, to connect with those individuals through pace email, social media, etc. This will allow you to get to know them prior to your arrival on campus. Sometimes, students begin to coordinate on what each will contribute to the room (ie. TV, rugs, etc). It is also an opportunity to get a sense of what your roommate’s expectations are, and your own. Remember, this is a good time to examine your social media and make any necessary adjustments if how you represent yourself could be misinterpreted by your new roommate.

In addition to connecting with your roommate, you will also have access to your Resident Assistant (RA) who will explain everything you need to know about living in the Residence Halls. Your RA will be the point person for all housing related concerns. They are also a great resource for learning about opportunities to get involved and connect with students on your floor and in your building. In addition, your RA will provide information about Residence Life events and how to receive “housing points” for participating in select events, which can be used toward raffles, prizes and more!

In addition to connecting with your roommate and utilizing your RA as a resource, you will also have a Residence Director (RD) located in your hall. Your RD can address any major concerns or questions you have and can clarify any housing policies and procedures. For more information, check out the Pace Housing website.

Your First Semester Bill And Financial Aid

The Pace Financial Aid Office is here to assist you through the process of filing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submitting your tuition fees on time. Taking out loans, parent plus loans, and accepting your financial aid package all include specific steps you need to follow. You have to make sure you sign off and accept your package online, as well as making sure you understand where and how your financial aid will be applied. Office of the First-Year Experience encourages you to have these items resolved prior to the semester starting.

Work-study is another opportunity you may qualify for, and if offered, it will be part of your financial aid package. However, securing a work-study position is not always guaranteed. You will need to seek out and apply to an on-campus position on your own. It is expected that the money you earn from your work-study position will be used toward cost of attendance. Feel free to browse the student section of the on-campus employment opportunities website.

Request Accomodations If Needed

The Office for Disability Services can assist you in your transition to Pace if you require additional assistance or had specific accommodations in high school. Please contact ODS directly to address your concerns before the semester starts, allowing for a smoother transition.

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step 3 iconYour First Six Weeks

Your first semester at Pace should be exciting and enjoyable, but it may also be scary and overwhelming. You will meet new people from across the country (and the world!) while adjusting to the New York City lifestyle. Part of the adjustment process is being accountable for balancing your school work, social life and outside commitments. Moreover, you will learn from Professors who may have different teaching methods than your teachers in high school. The classroom experience and your interactions with Professors will be different, so it is strongly encouraged that you get to know your Professors, visit them during office hours and ask questions.


Pace kicks off each semester with our annual Convocation event, which usually takes place the day before classes officially begin. This event includes a morning program, also known as Pre-Convocation, in which you will meet with your University 101 Instructor, who also serves as your first-year Academic Advisor, and your Peer Leader- an upper-class student leader who will help you along the way during your first semester. Following Pre-Convocation, all first-year students will come together to hear from several speakers - including the Dean for Students, a special Keynote speaker, and a rising sophomore student leader. Lunch is provided, and students have the chance to meet and interact with other new students. There will also be optional campus tours focusing on how to find your classrooms and buying textbooks.

The First Week

Your first week will be full of new experiences. You will meet your Professors, other first-year students, and get to know your roommate if you are living on campus. You may even venture outside of the downtown area, explore different areas of Manhattan and try the subway system for the first time! It is a lot of change to digest, and it is our goal to help you along the way. The Office of the First-Year Experience is always here for you, but remember to chat with your RA, your Peer Leader or University 101 Instructor for help or additional guidance.

Time Management

If there is one thing you should do before starting college, it is to think of how you will manage your time successfully. Will you:

  • Set deadlines?
  • Put everything in a planner or your smart phone calendar?
  • Download an app that can help you stay organized?
  • Use different folders and notebooks for each class?
  • Set specific times each week for studying and socializing?

These are questions to ask yourself in advance because your first semester will require careful planning. You will also be spending less time in class than you did in high school, and more time doing work outside of class. This approach requires you to be self-aware and accountable for your actions when balancing your social and academic life. You may also be living away from home, which can lead to further distractions. The first six weeks will probably be the hardest adjustment period, but if you can work out a routine and ask for help when needed, you will position yourself for a successful first year ahead.

Tips To Help During The First Six Weeks

  • Make sure you take care of any schedule changes within the first week.
  • If you need to drop or withdraw from a class within the first six weeks, you must talk to your Academic Advisor.
  • Attend Week of Welcome events during the first month. Many are designed for first year students and you will meet tons of new students and get a lot of free food and goodies!
  • Think about where and when to take care of your basic needs- such as laundry, going to the gym, running errands, connecting with family and friends back home, and learning how to get around. Commuters should also think about how commuting time and outside commitments will impact academic work.
  • You should take care of any outstanding financial balances, immunization paperwork, meal plan adjustments, housing concerns, etc. as early as possible.
  • Get in the habit of checking your Pace email - this is essential! In addition, you have the ability to forward your Pace emails to your personal email. Every office at Pace uses email for distributing important information – but it will only be sent to your Pace email. It is a new routine to get used to, but check your school email daily!
  • Stay on top of coursework and avoid procrastination so by the end of the first six weeks you will be ready and prepared for midterms!

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step 4 iconMid-Semester Experiences


We use the term “midterms” at Pace for the time about 6 weeks into the semester when most classes start to give exams or major papers are due. There isn’t an official mid-term period, but you can expect to be studying a lot and might feel a bit overwhelmed around that time. While we want you to work hard, study, and take this important time seriously, we don’t want you feeling overly stressed or anxious. By being accountable for your own actions and remaining self-aware, you can help reduce those negative feelings.

During this time, we recommend you take advantage of our Learning Center. The Learning Center is a free service, which is founded on peers helping peers. In addition, we encourage you to utilize the Library, which has numerous places to study and do homework (a great alternative to your dorm room, which can be distracting!)

Midterms is also an important time to evaluate how you are doing in your courses. If you are receiving grades from papers and exams, it can give you a better sense of where you stand academically and what opportunities you have left to improve or maintain your current grades. Exams, quizzes, papers, class participation and attendance are all considered opportunities for success and improvement.

Registering For Next Semester Courses

Please check out our First Year Advising section that explains the advising and registration procedure for first year students. Please make sure to read it carefully, but always know that you will have help throughout your first year from both your University 101 Advisor and the Office of the First Year Experience.

Staying Healthy

Staying healthy, which includes sleeping well, eating well, and getting enough physical and mental rest is very important to your success. As a student at Pace, there are opportunities to get involved, go out and engage in social activities, but there is also a need for balance. In order to stay on track and remain healthy, sleep is critical, - just don’t oversleep for class! It might seem obvious that sleep is important, but sometimes lack of sleep is one of the biggest concerns we see with first year students. Make sure to sleep enough to not get run down during crucial times during the semester (especially midterms and finals) and practice self-care. Lack of sleep can also lead to lingering colds, flu, etc. We know it is not always easy to stick to a sleep schedule and eat healthy all the time in your first semester, but remember, in the end, it can have an impact on your success.

Also, not only is it important to stay physically healthy but it is essential to stay mentally healthy as well. Pace prides itself on having one of the best higher education Counseling Center’s in the nation. We believe having someone to talk to and supporting you during your transition, along with being allowed to express yourself in a supportive environment, is essential to your success. Aside from formal counseling, there are also many organizations, clubs and events on campus that can help you meet others, express yourself, and de-stress.

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step 5 iconSemester Wrap-Up/Winter Break


As the semester comes to a close, you will be working on papers, projects and studying for final exams. At this point, you should have your next semester schedule set, understand what final work you need to complete, and also begin reflecting and thinking about what your next few years at Pace will look like.

For finals, the Library, Learning Center and Cafeteria all have extended hours to accommodate your busy schedule. Your first semester will pass in the blink of an eye, so make sure you are keeping up with your work as finals approach. Finals week can be stressful with multiple projects or exams due on the same day, so managing your time, and setting deadlines for yourself will be very important.

The Learning Center also offers review sessions in various subjects. It is recommended to form study groups with peers as a way to review course material and stay alert. Completing your work is important, but quality and good performance also matter. Feel free to talk to your Peer Leader for further advice and recommendations about how to prepare and manage the stress of finals.

Spring Schedule And Grades

As you head back home for winter break, you will have nearly a month before the next semester begins. While you can sign up for a winter session course (see below “Winter Session Courses”), it is also an opportunity for rest and relaxation as you prep for the spring semester. Usually, by the end of the first week of January, most of your final grades are available to view online in Pace portal. Once all grades are in, you will have a cumulative GPA based on a 0-4.0 scale. Maintaining at least a 2.0 is essential at Pace, not only for academic success, but to ensure your financial package (including scholarships) remains intact. This is called “Good Academic Standing”. Reviewing your grades will also allow you to make appropriate adjustments to your schedule for the spring, if in fact there is a course you need to retake or drop.

You can also modify your spring schedule over the winter break. Perhaps there was a course you were hoping to get into but it was closed and now open, or you decide to change your major or explore a different subject. You can adjust your schedule directly on the portal. You should consult with your UNV 101 Advisor or Office of the First Year Experience before you make changes to your schedule over the winter break.

Remember, you want to average at least 32 credits per year (fall and spring combined), in order to remain on track to graduate in four years. Therefore, students take on average 16 credits per semester, or around 15-18 credits in order to ensure completion of 32 credits per year.

Winter Session Courses

Pace offers courses during the winter in our January Inter-Session period, which starts around the beginning of January, and ends right before your spring semester starts. These are opportunities to earn 3 credits in a quick, compact timeline. These courses are charged per credit and are not typically covered by financial aid. The courses will meet for several hours a day and around three to four days a week – which is different than how your classes are structured in the fall. There are also online sections available during the winter as well, which are a great option if you are not local. If this is something you would like to consider, speak to your UNV 101 Academic Advisor or the Office of the First Year Experience about registering for Winter Session courses.

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step 6 iconSpring Semester

Back To Class

Just like the first semester, during the first two weeks of the spring semester is our add/drop period in which you can add/drop courses. Classes usually begin the last week in January. At this point, you should have looked at your fall semester grades, but if you have not, make sure to do so and adjust your schedule in consultation with your Academic Advisor if needed, as you will have an Advisement Hold on your account.

In your second semester, you might feel more comfortable with the academic routine that is expected of you at the college level. Hopefully, you have taken some time over the break to reflect on how you approached the first semester of college and make any adjustments you might need for the spring semester. These adjustments can range from managing your time differently, approaching Professors differently, exploring different classes, or modifying study habits. Students also tend to evaluate their choice of major around this time, with some students deciding to change their major. If you are having thoughts about changing your major, Pace is here to support you in that decision making process. It is very common for students to change their major in their first year. We all want our students to be confident in their choice of major and choose a subject they enjoy and that can translate into a career. If you are undecided about your major and still need some time, we recommend talking to the Advising Center for Exploring Majors in which you can sit down and discuss other options at Pace and strategies that might help you narrow down your choice.

Spring Advisement

You will plan your courses out in the spring semester for your sophomore year in a similar way in which you did the first semester during the advisement and registration period. Your University 101 Advisor will still advise you during the spring semester and the procedures will be the same. Registration for the fall of sophomore year usually takes place sometime in early-mid April. Please make sure to seek out your Academic Advisor each semester to ensure you are taking the appropriate classes to graduate on time.

Honor Societies, Pace Clubs & Organizations

Once you are more comfortable at balancing schoolwork and social life, the spring semester is a great time to get involved in a Pace club or organization. While you might want to choose a club to join that is related to your major, you can join anything you think is interesting or fun! It’s a great way to participate in the Pace community, and meet other students with similar interests. Later on, clubs and organizations also provide great opportunities for networking as you look for internships and jobs. We recommend to join at least one club or student organization on campus- even if that means stepping outside of your comfort zone a bit.

Working hard pays off! If you qualify based on your GPA after the first semester, you may be invited to join a National Honor Society, These are national organizations that have chapters all over the United States. It is a great credential for your resume and allows you to join a group of students at the University who have also been successful academically. Often, students in these organizations apply and participate as executive board members in which they can hold a student leadership position, and organize and structure activities and involvement for the Honor Society. Accepting membership into an Honor Society is a great way to build leadership skills and take an active role on campus.

Academic Probation

As mentioned earlier, checking your grades from the fall is important in order to understand where you stand academically. Pace requires students to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, which is equivalent to an average grade of C. You must maintain this average, and if you fall below it, you are considered to be on academic probation, which can cause implications. You can lose your financial aid package, including scholarships, or potentially be dismissed from the University. For further information about Academic Probation, refer to our First-Year Academic Advising page. The Office of the First Year Experience and the Academic Advisors at Pace are very willing to work with you and provide additional guidance on how to get back on track for the second semester.

Four Year Plans

As you begin to wrap up your first year, consider reviewing the four year plan that you created in University 101 during the fall semester. All first year students at Pace participate in a trajectory known as the Pace Path. Each student takes a different path at Pace, but the path is made up of a lot of activities outside of the classroom that will strengthen your skills as you enter the work world after college. Pace Path experiences include items such as internships, leadership positions, volunteering, engaging in student organizations, undergraduate research, and professional development. While in the first year your four-year plan is a draft, you should continue modifying it each year in order to make sure you have set goals to accomplish, and are on track to not only graduate in four years, but graduate as a well-rounded student with experience inside and outside of the classroom.

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step 7 iconTransitioning to Sophomore Year

Sophomore Advisement

Academic Advisement is crucial throughout your time here at Pace. In order to ensure that you are well prepared after your first year, we will provide you with advisement information for the sophomore year before your leave for the summer. We host a Meet Your New Advisor event in the spring semester, in which you can meet the professional advisors associated with your major/school. This way, you can put a face to the name of the advisors you will be working with in your second year. You can still maintain a connection with your University 101 Academic Advisor, but they will not serve as your primary advisor after your first year.

Summer Classes

Another option to consider as you finish up your spring semester and head into summer break is taking a summer course. Summer courses are a great way to earn credits in a relatively quick amount of time and might help you get a jump start on sophomore year. It is a good time to take a core or foundation requirement, and you have the option of taking it at Pace or another institution closer to home. If you take it at Pace, it is similar to our Winter Session courses in which they are billed per credit. You can also take up to 12 credits (during your entire time at Pace) at another institution during your summer and winter breaks. However, to take a class at another college there is a procedure to ensure that the course you take there has an academic equivalent here at Pace. The Permission to Enroll at Another Institution form (PDF) needs to be signed off by both your Advisor, and the corresponding department in which the class is from. Please make sure to speak with your Academic Advisor about this procedure.

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