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First-Year Students

Welcome to UW Oshkosh!

The University Studies Program (USP) is where your college career begins, with classes developed just for you.

You'll take USP Quest and Explore courses in your first two years here. These courses are designed for exploration of interesting questions and topics.  As you take your first Quest course in your first semester, you will enjoy a small learning community and a peer mentor.  We'll also introduce you to college-level expectations and study habits. Each Quest and Explore course meets basic requirements that move you toward graduation. Every University Studies course gives you the opportunity to make progress with the Essential Learning Outcomes employers want most from college graduates.

After you've completed your Quest sequence of courses, an advanced writing course called Connect will help you pull together what you've learned in your first two years. Then you'll be ready to continue with advanced courses in your chosen field.

Make a Plan: Check out the courses that look interesting.

  • Semester One: Quest I Learning Community and Other Explore Courses, includes a Peer Mentor and a first-year focus
  • Semester Two: Quest II Learning Community and Other Explore Courses, includes exploration of ethical challenges
  • Semester Three (or Four): Quest III and Other Explore Courses, includes learning in the community with an Alumni Mentor
  • Semester Four (or Five): Connect, a course to help you pull it all together


Know What, Why, and How You're Learning

Because the USP is distinctive to UW Oshkosh (and is a model for other campuses across the country), here are some elements you'll see over and over again during your time here.

Signature Questions (SQs): All Quest courses are tied to one of our SQs, focused on Sustainability, Intercultural Knowledge, and Civic Learning.

Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs): Every class you take here will help you make progress toward mastering these specific goals.  By the time you graduate, you'll have practiced them all and employers will be impressed.

Learning Communities: In your Quest I and Quest II classes, you'll be with the same 25 first-year students who are in your Quest Writing or Quest Speaking class.

Peer Mentor: In your Quest I course, you'll have an experienced student serving as your guide to campus and the community.  In addition to your professors, they are an excellent source of support in your first year.

ePortfolio: In every Quest course (and in virtually all of the courses you'll take at UW Oshkosh), you'll collect some of your work in an electronic portfolio that you'll take with you when you graduate.

Alumni Mentor: In your second-year, Quest III course, you'll have a UW graduate serving side-by-side with you as you contribute to a community experience connected to your class.

(Want a quick and easy refresher on what the USP is all about?  See our QUICK GUIDE!)