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First-Year Experience and Programming

Ignite. Light. Burn Bright.

Northern Kentucky University's first-year students have the opportunity to experience their first year of college in an environment that promotes active learning, collaboration, and personal development through these programs:

  • Alpha Lambda Delta
  • Common Experience
  • First-Year Advising
  • First-Year Seminars (University 101: Orientation to College & Beyond)
  • Learning Communities
  • Student Engagement Experiences

By collaborating with other academic and student development offices and community agencies, First-Year Experience offers these experiences to any freshman, regardless of their academic major or interests.

Our Vision

NKU fosters a first-year learning environment for all students, providing the foundation to thrive as they transition to college degrees.

Our Mission

We aspire to create a coordinated and comprehensive first-year experience to ensure a successful transition, create a sense of belonging, and provide support for any student in their first year at Northern Kentucky University.  Through first-year courses, coordinated services, and robust programming, First-Year Experience will create the opportunity for student success, persistence to degree attainment, and career and community engagement beyond graduation.

Our Outcomes

Northern Kentucky University's Core Values are Excellence, Integrity, Belonging, Innovation, and Collegiality. First-Year Experience's student learning outcomes align with these core values and denote what students will take away from their first year at NKU. 

As a result of a coordinated and comprehensive first-year experience, students will be able to: 

  • Interact with resources on campus that promote student success.     
  • Develop positive relationships with faculty, staff, advisors, and peers.      
  • Become engaged on campus and in the region.
  • Develop skills that foster growth both personally and academically.
  • Investigate academic pathways and associated careers.
  • Engage with individuals possessing different perspectives in a diverse society.
Alpha Lambda Delta ceremony
Two students playing Jenga
Group of students standing in lobby of Student Union
Group of students standing in Student Union lobby.
Group of students standing in Student Union lobby.
Students studying in a hallway
Group of students sitting inside gym
Five students dressed in Halloween costumes
Four people standing behind a Hollywood background holding props.
Group of students volunteering outdoors
Students exploring different majors at Major-Minor Fair.
Student talking to person at booth at Major-Minor fair.

Explore Your Opportunities

academics and careers

Academics & Careers


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NKU houses 90 bachelor’s degrees, two associate degrees and 24 graduate programs with almost 15,000 students enrolled. Students are encouraged to attend the Major/Minor Fair in the fall to talk with faculty and staff and learn more about different academic programs at NKU! Career Services is housed in the University Center and offers resources to help students establish academic and career goals:


Group of NKU volunteers standing outside

Service and Community


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Located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, NKU’s campus is just a few minutes from downtown Cincinnati. In a typical academic year, NKU students volunteer more than 22,000 hours for the campus and local community. The Center for Student Engagement serves as the coordinating office for many student organizations and service opportunities on campus:

Group of students doing yoga outside

Health and Wellness


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Health, Counseling, and Student Wellness is located on the 4th floor of the University Center. This office offers basic medical care at a low cost to students, including free COVID-19 testing/vaccination

All enrolled students also have access to the Campus Recreation Center, which houses an aquatic center, bouldering wall, basketball courts, fitness classes and more!



Student working on a large portrait of a face.

Fine Arts


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The School of the Arts houses academic programs related to music, theatre, dance, and visual arts. SOTA hosts concerts, stage productions and art shows featuring the work of NKU students! Check out the School of the Arts website to learn more:




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NKU is home to 17 Division I sports teams with 225 student athletes. Students get free admission to games, so be sure to come out and cheer for all our Norse teams! If you love to compete and want a fun way to meet other NKU students, join one of our intramural sports teams. Teams include traditional sports like basketball, softball and soccer, along more non-traditional sports like dodgeball, bowling and sand volleyball. 


Group of international students talking outside on NKU's campus.



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NKU is committed to providing and maintaining an inclusive campus for all students. The Center for Student Inclusiveness houses the departments of African American Student Initiatives, Latino Student Initiatives and LGBTQ Programs and Services. These departments are ready to assist students with finding a sense of belonging on campus.


Students sitting at tables working on laptops