Freshman Interest Group (FIG)

The Freshman Interest Group (FIG) is a program designed to bring what is learned in the classroom to life. Ten different academic themes offer students the opportunity of living in a close-knit community with peers who have similar academic interests and are taking core classes together. The FIG program intentionally creates a learning environment that recognizes how some of the most powerful learning in college takes place outside the classroom. Seminars and study groups taking place in the residential community, faculty members being present in the village, and specially trained peer advisors help integrate the academic and social experience of our students. By being a member of the FIG, students make a year-long commitment to the academic program and the residential living community. Students who participate in FIG live in the Cabernet Village.

Mission

Sonoma State University's Freshman Interest Group program provides small thematic living/learning communities to enhance the academic experience during the freshman year. We promote intellectual pursuits, personal responsibility, civic engagement, and positive intentional relationships with faculty and peers.


Available Freshman Interest Groups

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The Arts FIG is for those who enjoy performance and visual arts. We will work together as a learning community in core English and arts classes, attend campus performances and galleries together, and find out what's going on in the Arts on campus and in the community.

Requirements

Must be placed in English 101 (minimum SAT score of 500/ACT 22 or EPT of 147)

Links to Academic Departments

The business world is highly competitive these days, and employers are seeking applicants with unique educational experiences and skill-base. The Business and Economics FIG is comprised of students who want to learn more about the business, accounting and economics world and who are looking to gain skills to better prepare them to enter these worlds.

Requirements

Must be placed in GE Level English (minimum SAT score of 500/ACT 22 or EPT of 147)

Links to Academic Departments

The Education FIG is a doorway to teaching grade school, middle school or high school students in the twenty-first century. This FIG is an excellent choice for any student considering going into education upon graduation. All majors, including Hutchins and undeclared students are encouraged to join.

Requirements

Must be placed in English 101 (minimum SAT score of 500/ACT 22 or EPT of 147)

Links to Academic Departments

The Engineering, Math and Science FIG provides freshmen who are majoring in, or are interested in, mathematics, science, and engineering with resources, activities, and programs to enhance their academic and social experiences. The goal is to unite classroom and residential experiences to build a positive foundation for a future career in those three fields.

Requirements

Must be placed in GE level math (minimum SAT score of 550/ACT 23 or ELM of 50) Must be placed in English 101 (minimum SAT score of 500/ACT 22 or EPT of 147)

Links to Academic Departments

The Global Issues/Global Careers FIG explores current international, political and social issues for students interested in world cultures, foreign languages, environmental problems. Particular emphasis will be placed on future options for study abroad and opportunities to serve the global community in students' future professional lives.

Requirements

Must be placed in English 101 (minimum SAT score of 500/ACT 22 or EPT of 147)

Links to Academic Departments

The Leadership FIG is designed to help students gain the necessary skills to be effective leaders in today's world. Through coursework and experiential learning, the FIG will provide students the fundamental knowledge required for civic-minded leadership and employment in the work-world.

Requirements

Must be placed in English 101 (minimum SAT score of 500/ACT 22 or EPT of 147)

Links to Academic Departments

The Pre-Health Professions FIG is a gateway to the field of health care, providing coursework intentionally selected to help students gain entry into doctoral health profession programs as well as exposure to current issues in the field. Unfortunately, this program is not appropriate for students pursuing nursing due to the configuration of major course requirements.

Requirements

Must be placed at GE level math (minimum SAT score of 550/ACT 23 or ELM of 50)
Must be placed in GE Level English (minimum SAT score of 500/ACT 22 or EPT of 147)

Links to Academic Departments

Psychology FIG students are people interested in people. They examine what it means to be human in the 21st century, and explore many areas of research and working the field of psychology. This FIG is particularly suitable for students interested in psychology and other human services.

Requirements

Must be placed in English 101 (minimum SAT score of 500/ACT 22 or EPT of 147)

Links to Academic Departments


Frequently Asked Questions

The program identifies five main goals based on national research the supports student retention and satisfaction, and which addresses the social and academic transition challenges most freshmen face. These goals are:

  1. Improve the academic success of first-year students.
  2. Increase retention from freshman to sophomore year.
  3. Increase student satisfaction with Sonoma State University.
  4. Provide assistance for students to take an active role in their successful academic and personal transition to college.
  5. Create opportunities that will foster residential, learning-based peer network.
  6. Increase student and faculty interaction outside of the classroom.
  7. Integrate civic engagement into the curriculum.

As a result of participating in the FIG program for their entire first year students will:

  • Benefit from mentoring relationships with peers and faculty inside and outside of the classroom
  • Successfully self-monitor schoolwork to meet deadlines and academic expectations
  • Develop responsible decision-making skills
  • Recognize the values of life-long civic engagement
  • Become a respectful, contributing member to the residential and campus community
  • Gain initial knowledge of issues, methods, and careers in the students' potential field of study
  • Demonstrate study skills strategies for above-average academic achievement
  • Matriculate to their sophomore year at SSU

The CSU system has determined that all students must receive one of the following scores to be placed into college level English (English 101):

  • A score of at least 500 on the critical reading portion of the SAT
  • A score of at least 22 on the ACT
  • A score of at least 147 on the English Placement Test (EPT)
  • An EAP Exemption for English
  • Or a score of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement English Literature or Language Exam
  • One of the three linked courses for all nine FIG cohorts is English 101. Therefore, it is required that each applicant meets the above CSU guidelines.


Important Information for students interested in the Engineering, Math & Science FIG

The CSU system has determined that all students must receive one of the following scores to be placed into college level Math (Math 100 or above):

  • A score of at least 550 on the math portion of the SAT
  • A score of at least 23 on the ACT
  • A score of at least 50 on the Entry Level Math Exam (ELM)
  • An EAP Exemption for Math
  • Or a score of 3 or higher on any Advanced Placement Math Exam
  • One of the three linked courses for the Engineering, Math & Science FIG is pre-calculus/calculus. Therefore, it is required that each applicant meets the above CSU guidelines.


Important information for students interested in the Pre-Health Professions FIG

The CSU system has determined that all students must receive one of the following scores to be placed into college level Math (Math 100 or above):

  • A score of 550 on the math portion of the SAT
  • A score of 23 on the ACT
  • Or a score of 50 on the Entry Level Math Exam (ELM)
  • One of the three linked courses for the Pre-Health Professions FIG is chemistry. Although there is no math requirement to take chemistry, students who do not meet the above requirements typically struggle with chemistry their first semester. Therefore, it is required that each applicant meets the above CSU guidelines.


Acceptance into the FIG program is on a rolling basis

If you are still waiting on scores, or to take the placement tests, please mail in the application, and indicate that information on the form. The FIG program fills quickly and because you cannot be accepted into the program until test scores are received, it is in your best interest to take your placement tests as soon as possible. Information on placement tests or registration for tests can be found at www.ets.org/csu.


Test Scores

If you are still waiting on scores, or to take the placement tests, please indicate that on your Housing License Agreement. The FIG program fills quickly and because you cannot be accepted into the program until test scores are received, it is in your best interest to take your placement tests as soon as possible. Information on placement tests or registration for tests can be found at www.ets.org/csu.

  1. Check each program to determine that you meet the individual requirements.
  2. Choose your desired Living-Learning Community (Co-op, FIG, FYE, or MOSAIC) when you complete your online housing license agreement. This process takes place through the Housing Office during the spring for fall placement.
  • Has a strong academic background and wants to get a jump-start on their academics at SSU.
  • Is prepared to take responsibility for her/his academic future.
  • Has the academic ability, commitment and drive to be a positive, active member of our college community. Academic ability is not enough by itself.
  • Will use the tools that we provide to make the most of her/his college experience at SSU.
  • Is willing to be a positive, active participant in the residential community.

Since the creation of the FIG program in 2000, we have earned overwhelming campus-wide support. This program is designed for students who have chosen a major and are interested in jumping right in, as well as those who have an interest area supported by the FIG, and want to sample the academic field before declaring it as their major. Because the majority of the courses also fulfill general education requirements, participating in the FIG does not hinder students who change majors later. Other reasons students participate in FIG are because they desire to:

  • Live with other freshmen that have similar academic interests
  • Satisfy general education requirements while engaging in an in-depth exploration of major and or possible career choices.
  • Participate in seminars, study groups, field trips, social gatherings specially designed for FIG students

Links With Core Curriculum

Each FIG group has an academic block consisting of 2-3 core classes that every student is enrolled in together. These classes relate to the theme of the FIG and often fulfill requirements of the major with the discipline. The classes are integrated into the programs and activities offered in the residential community. Therefore, students can apply what they are learning in one class to all the FIG classes and what they are engaging in outside of the classroom.

Civic Engagement Projects

We know the value of learning through doing and strive to teach our students about the Sonoma State and surrounding community through direct engagement. A variety of service-learning and civic engagement projects are woven into the curriculum to give students direct experience in their field of interest, contribute to our local community, and build pride in what FIG students can accomplish.

UNIV 102: First Year Experience as a Cornerstone

Academically thematic FIG freshman seminars have become the cornerstone for the FIG theme by providing a base from which integration and collaboration among the courses linked to each theme stem. This nationally recognized transition course has given assistance to thousands of freshmen over the last 15 years.

Student Taught Spring Semester Course

During the Spring semester FIG students take a one unit course taught by a Peer Advisor. The purpose of the seminar is to further enhance the freshman experience by broadening student views of the professions within their FIG interest, in addition to helping with the academic and personal transition to college. Course objectives include encouraging the exploration of personal interests within various professions, improving academic success, and maintaining supportive residential learning-based peer networks for all students.

Strengthening Academic Performance

FIG participants benefit from increased attention to academic skills development as repeatedly shown in GPA and retention rate comparisons with the general freshmen class. Each semester approximately 55% of the FIG participants earn a 3.0 GPA or above, with over 25% earning above a 3.5 GPA.

Due to the high value we place on a low faculty to student ratio, each FIG cohort is capped at 25 students. There is no additional fee to participate in the program, even though there are many additional benefits provided by both the Residential Life Office and the academic departments. All of the FIG themes have an English placement requirement. Additionally, the Pre-Health FIG and Engineering, Math and Science FIG have a math placement requirement, which are listed below. Because there is the living component, students must live on-campus in the FIG village their entire freshman year. Failure to maintain enrollment in all FIG courses will result in a forfeit of the FIG contract and students will be required to move to a different village, space permitting. Requesting housing information and submitting a license agreement early is recommended due to limited space availability in the residential community.