About The First Year Initiative Program


The UT Martin First-Year Initiative is a unique program designed to help students with their transition to university life. The first step of the First-Year Initiative is SOAR, Summer Orientation and Registration. During SOAR, prospective students meet with academic advisors and register for classes. Additionally, students and parents receive information about various student services including academic support, housing, financial aid, and student involvement.


The second step of the First-Year Initiative involves the active participation of students in the General Studies 101 course (GENS 101). The GENS 101 course begins during Welcome Weekend which occurs the week prior to the start of classes in the Fall Semester. Welcome Weekend is designed to orient students in regard to their academic programs and campus life opportunities. At the beginning of Welcome Weekend, each student is assigned to a group of students with similar academic interests. A faculty mentor and a peer counselor (PEP Leader) lead the group during Welcome Weekend and throughout the GENS 101 class. It is during Welcome Weekend that students begin their transition into the UT Martin community. GENS 101 is a semester-long, two-credit hour class which focuses on the strategies and skills needed to achieve success in the collegiate environment. Additionally, the course is calculated into the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship grade point average.




The First-Year Initiative is a mandatory program for our incoming first year students.  Any exception is handled on a case-by-case basis with documentation supporting the reason for not participating.  This program is the first step in achieving success at UT Martin.


The First-Year Initiative is directed by the Office of Student Engagement . For more information about the First Year Initiative please contact Ms. Charleen Thornton at 731-881-3104 or email her at charleen@utm.edu.


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