Start Strong First Year Program

Strong Start is a first year program for YSU students whose true academic promise may not be reflected in their standardized test scores or high school average. We believe in you. We believe that with academic and personal support, early career guidance, and a strong social network, you can discover your purpose and realize your potential. Together, we can make your first year at YSU a success!

Program Features

A focus on academic success

Students take a First Year Experience course that will help them build a solid foundation for continued success at YSU. They will learn the “ins and outs” of the academic community, strengthen their study and time management skills, learn habits of mind that promote success, identify and balance competing priorities, and use appropriate campus resources to overcome challenges that arise.

Program Advisor and Success Coach

To ensure ongoing individualized support throughout their first year, all students will be assigned a success coach who will also serve as a first-year advisor. The success coach will teach the First Year Experience course, help students overcome academic and other barriers as they arise, promote academic success strategies, and guide students through the course selection and registration process each semester.

First semester Learning Community

Students will participate in a first-semester learning community. A learning community consists of several classes that students take together so that they get to know each other quickly, easily form study groups, and support each other’s learning.

Guided major and career exploration

To ensure that students make informed decisions about their major and career path, students will take a major and career exploration course in their second semester. Students will take interest and other career-related assessments, review results, identify strengths and values, explore careers of interest and learn about the majors that lead to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any additional charge for being in the program?

There is no additional cost.

Will I begin YSU as a freshman?

Yes. Strong Start is not a pre-college experience. It is a support program for YSU students in their first year of college.

Do I have to complete additional requirements as a Strong Start student?

You are required to attend the two-to-three hour Strong Start Orientation prior to the start of the fall semester. You are also required to take the seven-week major and career exploration course in the spring semester. Other than that, your degree requirements are the same as those of any admitted first year student.

Can I still graduate in four years?

Your ability to earn your college degree in four years depends on a number of factors: the requirements of the major you select, how many credits you complete each semester, your grade point average, and your math and English placements. Participation in the Strong Start program in itself will not prevent you from earning your degree in four years.

What if I already know what I want to major in? Why do I have to be undecided?

Many students feel pressure to pick a major right away. The result, according to national research, is that most college students change their major at least once during their college career. As a Strong Start student, you will have the unique opportunity to explore your interests, understand your strengths, and research majors and careers before choosing your major. If you know what you want to major in, this will be an opportunity to confirm that your choice is the best one for you.

What if I don’t accept the offer to be in the program?

Your acceptance to Youngstown State University is contingent upon your agreement to be a member of Strong Start. Because your standardized test scores and/or your high school grade point average did not qualify you for regular admission to the University, YSU believes the additional support the program provides will create the best environment for your success.