First-Year Interest Groups

Join us in fall of 2018 for our 19th successful year of the program
and share the
rave reviews of hundreds of other students!

What are FIGs?

A FIG is a cluster of three courses: two general education courses (psychology and anthropology, for example) linked with a two-credit seminar (max. of 25 students). While the seminar itself is small, the general education classes (also known as “GURs”) are usually quite large: Those students enrolled in the FIG participate in the GUR courses the same way as other students enrolled in the courses, but also get the advantage of meeting together as a small group in the seminar. The learning community environment created by a FIG cluster can help students connect more quickly to university life, and foster a smoother transition from high school to college learning and expectations. To learn more about the seminar portion of the cluster, see FIG Seminar Information.

Seminar ClassSeminar Class

Students who register for a FIG will enjoy many advantages:

  • Lock in the most popular classes early.
    Many of the GUR courses in the FIG are very popular classes that fill fast during Summerstart registration.
  • Get a guaranteed basic schedule.
    A FIG gives students a basic class schedule for Fall Quarter (between 9 and 12 credits). Students may choose to enroll in additional courses to supplement the FIG schedule at Summerstart or in the fall.
  • Meet some of the best professors.
    Professors who are involved in the FIGs program are motivated to make the teaching and learning process challenging and enjoyable. They have volunteered to be in the program.
  • Make new friends. Seminar Class
    Many FIG students form study groups and friendships that last beyond the FIG.
  • Get help from experienced Western student advisors.
    Many of the FIG seminar instructors will work with a student peer advisor who can give FIG students a "leg up" on getting acquainted with campus life.
  • Learn new technologies.
    From using computer labs and campus email to online course materials and information systems, the FIG lends a hand in getting set up for some of the technologies required in college and commonly used by instructors at Western.


Data confirms the benefits of the FIG Program. FIG students achieve higher GPAs, are more engaged in their classes, and return to Western after the first year at higher rates than those who were not in a FIG.

Program Goals

As part of the first-year experience of entering students, the First-year Interest Groups Program at WWU intends to:

  • Give first-year students a small group experience to help them integrate into university life.
  • Give first-year students the opportunity for more interaction with instructors.
  • Communicate high academic expectations to students.
  • Help students recognize and take advantage of the roles that various campus resources play in their academic lives