Published December 05, 2023
The College Cohort Program at NYU: Building Community at CAS
Hello, my name is Chris, and I am a senior at NYU’s College of Arts and Science (CAS). I am double-majoring in Computer Science and Economics. In addition to working on campus as a digital ambassador (which involves writing these articles for Meet NYU), I am a College Cohort Program leader for CAS. In this role I mentor first-year students and connect them to NYU’s various resources. Below, I discuss what CAS students can expect from their college leader and the College Cohort Program when they arrive at NYU!
The College Cohort Program
How Does This All Work?
There is no question that joining NYU’s undergraduate student body of over 29,000 students can be a bit intimidating in your first year. On top of that, if you are coming to the College of Arts and Science, you are joining the largest of NYU’s 10 undergraduate schools and colleges. Luckily, for first-year students, CAS recognizes the importance of making this very large school seem a bit smaller. So the school has implemented the College Cohort Program to ease this transition.
As a first-year student at CAS, the first class you will attend is the Cohort Welcome and Check In. In this class you will meet a group of around 30 to 35 first-year students and your fearless college leader (an upper-level student like me). From there, your cohort will meet regularly throughout the semester. Your meetings will focus on four overarching themes: academic success, personal and career development, community engagement, and leadership experience. All of these meetings will be led by your college leader. What’s more, in some instances, they will involve representatives from different NYU departments and CAS academic advisers.
The College Leaders
A.K.A. the CLs
So, who are these mysterious leadership figures? The truth is, we are not much different from first-year students. The college leaders (CLs) are sophomores, juniors, and seniors dedicated to guiding first-year CAS students. We are a great resource for first years who may have informal, but important, questions that may not be appropriate to ask an academic adviser or professor at NYU. Do you want to know where the best study spots on campus are? What is everyone’s favorite dining hall? What fun electives should you take? Your CL’s student perspective may be helpful.
Additionally, we are a great way for first-year students to get connected to on-campus resources. If we cannot answer a question ourselves, we can certainly refer students to another NYU resource.
The Cohort Curriculum
Your Guide to Being a CAS student
Per the cohort meetings mentioned above, the cohort curriculum takes first-year students through different resources that will be of use to them as they progress through NYU. The curriculum covers topics such as how to register for NYU classes, make appointments with an adviser, and access various facilities. Certain cohort meetings also partner with NYU resources and feature a representative from their teams. For example, cohorts will meet with NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development to discuss interviewing, internships, and the overall job process. They’ll meet administrators from the Office of Global Programs to learn more about studying away. Or Bobst Library staff will join a meeting to discuss research and access to academic resources.
While covering these resources is important, the more exciting part of the curriculum (in my opinion) is its aim to foster community within cohorts. All of the cohort meetings feature “connection activities” that enable students to interact with each other and have fun. Additionally, college leaders host at least three cohort events per semester. These events emphasize community engagement not only with NYU but all of New York City.
Building Relationships Outside of the Classroom
As college leaders, we get a budget dedicated to planning experiences around New York City for first-year CAS students. I have been a CL for three years now. And in the past, I have taken my cohorts to various museums, activities, and restaurants around the city. Some of my favorite cohort events included taking students to Summit One Vanderbilt, Artechouse, the Museum of Modern Art, RiseNY, and Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Overall, the community building aspect of the cohort program does not end after your first year. The program is designed to connect CAS students and support them throughout their entire time at NYU. I am currently a senior and still am very close to some of the other students in my first-year cohort!