First Years

The First Year – Overview

The first year is a defining time in a student’s experience at Pitzer. As first year students begin to develop the foundation for their career at Pitzer, they are exploring and developing a sense of belonging which will influence their academic and social success as well as their mental and physical well-being (Johnson,et al., 2007).

Our First Year Class initiatives aim to help first year students use this year to:  

  1. Establish healthy wellness and academic habits.
  2. Identify campus resources necessary for support student success.
  3. Develop a sense of belonging on campus (Johnson,et al., 2007).

Johnson, D. R., Soldner, M., Leonard, J. B., Alvarez, P., Inkelas, K. K., Rowan-Kenyon, H. T., & Longerbeam, S. D. (2007). Examining Sense of Belonging Among First-Year Undergraduates From Different Racial/Ethnic Groups. Journal of College Student Development, 48(5), 525–542. 

First Year Checklist 

Educational Engagement 

  • Review this advice on Academic Advising specifically for First Years: 
  • Utilize the Academic Fillable Calendar which will help you manage your time.
  • Review the Academic Calendar.
  • Check your email DAILY for important information (event invites, deadlines, etc.). Learn how to filter and organize your emails with this video.
  • Meet with your academic adviser in October to get advice on what to take Spring Semester. Always make sure you are confirming information with your adviser.
  • Visit your professors during their office hours at least once a semester. Introduce yourself and talk about something you are really enjoying about the class. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or ask about future courses they might be teaching the next semester.
  • Not sure how to ask a professor for help? Or how to approach studying for that midterm? New Student Guides are academic leaders who are available to help answer any questions that you have about the academic experience from the student perspective. Learn more about them on Sakai.
  • Determine if you want to study abroad while at Pitzer and attend the various study abroad info sessions offered. 
  • Explore resources for academic success offered by Pitzer Academic Support Services
  • Form study groups with classmates. Your Community Assistant (CA) can help you initiate this if you need help.  
  • Begin thinking about a potential major and/or career by taking different classes, talking to faculty/staff, and asking upper class students about their experience with their majors.
  • Visit the Writing Center for one-on-one consultation and their upcoming workshops.

Building Community 

  • Meet your CA and attend the first welcome meeting!
  • Follow the following instagram accounts: @pitzerosa, @pzreslife, @pzstrive2thrive, @pitzercareerservices, @pitzercapas, @pz_orientation, @pzsenate
  • Look into getting involved in Student organizations, Pitzer Activities (PAct), or Student Senate by attending the Pitzer Resource Fair & 5C Club fair. More details on these here.
  • Pick at least one student organization/student involvement to commit to!
  • Participate in fun events hosted by your CA.
  • Find a mentor! Lots of clubs & group have mentorship programs you can sign up for. 
  • Need help with building a community? Sign up for a one-on-one with your CA who will help and guide you on where to begin!

Individual Development 

  • Develop time management skills to balance academic and social life by keeping a calendar/planner, prioritizing deadlines and activities, setting healthy boundaries with friends and family. 
  • Career Planning: 
    • Check out the first year checklist from career services here.
    • Log-in to Handshake and complete your personal profile as soon as possible! Handshake is a great way to find jobs on campus and stay connected to all the opportunities on and off campus.
    • Begin developing your resume and cover letter. 
    • Attend events hosted by Career Services during weeks of welcome.
  • Increase your financial literacy: getting a credit card, budgeting basics, understanding your Financial Aid  
  • After 2-3 weeks into Fall Semester, reflect on what you would like the next four years to look like. Make a Pitzer Bucket List to help you keep track of your goals.
  • Take time to consider who you’d like to build a mentor relationship with. Think about upperclass students, staff, & faculty and reach out with that intention. They will be happy to meet with you, answer questions, and continue to check in throughout the semester.


  • Understand how you interact with others through personality tools such as The 5 Love Languages, Myers-Briggs Personality Type, or True Colors.
  • Prioritize taking care of your body, mind and spirit by finding a supportive group of friends/ community to check in with. Your CA is always ready to support you.
  • Engage with Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (MCAPS)via groups or workshops for ongoing support and interaction with peers  
  • Strive to Thrive: Follow @pzstrive2thrive Instagram for ongoing wellness tips and attend wellness Wednesday virtual events. 
  • The Pitzer College Financial Wellness Center provides online resources on topics such as introduction to budgeting, credit vs debit cards, credit reports and scores, financial planning, types of financial aid (to name a few).  Any Pitzer student may create an account and complete the online courses from the library at their own pace.
  • Join wellness/ mindfulness apps to help you stay on track 

Diversity and Inclusion 

  • Attend events hosted by the President’s Racial Justice Initiative  
  • Attend a Community Engagement Center (CEC) Ethics and Orientation Training and start volunteering with community partners  
  • Research and create your own reading list to further your own education on a variety of diversity and inclusion topics, such as anti-racism, LGBTQ communities, inclusive language, immigrant rights, etc.  
  • Seek out multiple ways to educate yourself on anti-racism efforts, such as 
  • Pitzer affinity groups, which are a part of Pitzer Student Senate’s Identity Board, can serve as supportive peer groups for students who may identity with one or more of these organizations.  
  • Attend Claremont Colleges resource centers open houses, resource workshops, presentations and trainings  
    • Center for Asian Pacific American Students (CAPAS)
    • Queer Resource Center (QRC): Ally Training 
    • Chicano Latino Student Affairs (CLSA) 
    • Office of Black Student Affairs (OBSA) 
    • EmPOWER Center 
    • Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC): 
    • Chaplains  
    • Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (MCAPS)
    • Huntley Bookstore

Connect with your First Year OSA Staff

We are here to support you throughout your first semester of college at Pitzer. Send us an email if you would like to connect or need some questions answered. We look forward to hearing from you!