Psychology First-Year

The learning community gives new students a way to meet peers and professors in psychology and to have a support system to help through this new chapter in life! Overall, the learning community was an amazing experience and it’s something I recommend to every new psychology student! -Sydney, 2015-2016 community member, 2018-2019 peer mentor



Majors Eligible to Join

First-year majors in psychology.

Program Description

The Psychology Freshmen Learning Community is designed to assist first-year Psychology students in making a successful transition to college. Instead of taking the required orientation course, Psych 1110, learning community students will take Psych 1120, Psychology Learning Community Seminar. Psych 1120 is a year-long seminar, one credit each semester, led by a faculty member.

The goals are to provide an environment where students can connect with each other and with faculty, learn strategies that foster personal development, and develop critical thinking skills as they explore important psychological topics. Psych 1120 includes orientation sessions that cover academic program planning, campus resources, and research conducted by current ISU faculty members, in which students can participate, beginning their sophomore year. The seminar also includes a variety of topics relevant to psychology. Depending on the instructor, the seminar theme will be "The Psychology of Happiness and Well-being" or "Study and Communication Skills for Psychology." The seminar includes readings, discussions, class activities, and self-discovery exercises. In the spring semester, students engage in active learning on campus or in the community with several hours of volunteer work.

Students will work with upper-level Psychology majors who will serve as peer mentors. The peer mentors will link students to resources within the department and across the ISU campus, provide academic support, and facilitate social activities within the learning community. Students will enroll together in classes that fulfill degree requirements. 

Students take Psych 1120 together in the fall and spring. In addition, in the fall, learning community students take several other courses together, including Introductory Psychology (Psych 1010, if needed) lecture and discussion, as well as English Critical Thinking and Communication (Engl 1500, if needed). In the spring, students take Introduction to College-level Research (Lib 1600); Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition (Engl 2500, if needed); and Moral Theory and Practice (Phil 2300) together. All of these courses are required for graduation. These courses, including special small enrollment learning community sections of Engl 1500, 2500, and Psych 1010 Discussion, provide an interwoven academic and social experience. Students are able to explore their learning community theme from a multidisciplinary perspective while connecting to each other in a year of shared courses and activities.

Living Options

You will have the opportunity to live together on the same floor in a residence hall, which makes it easy to organize study groups, social activities, and informal get-togethers.  Half or more of learning community members chose the residential learning community option.  You may also live elsewhere, but still participate in all other components of the learning community.

Signing up

To sign up for a residential learning community, simply select your learning community preference when filling out your Department of Residence contract in the Housing portal. You can go in and update or change your learning community preference information at any time up until the deadline without losing your “priority date.”

You will have the opportunity to register for the learning community seminar (Psych 1120) and join the learning community during orientation. For questions about eligibility and registration, contact Undergraduate Psychology Advising at


Psychology Advising

Photo of Karen Scheel

Dr. Karen Scheel

Academic Year Faculty Contact

Carrie Richie

Dr. Carrie Richie

Academic Year Faculty Contact