FAQs for First-Year Experience Learning Communities



What is the structure of a LC?

The typical LC connects three courses together. Two courses are in the core or a major/minor, including any associated labs, and the other course is Integrative Seminar (iSeminar), which provides a community space for problem solving.

Learning communities colore wheel

Your LC is determined based on who you are and what you like; all the same students are in the three courses with you so you make friends with peers who share your interests; the faculty work together to help you make connections; and a peer mentor and adviser are linked to the LC to support you in your success. Each LC is part of a “Highlands Hacienda,” a group of 5-6 LCs that share a common brand and goal to win the “First-Year Competitions.”  This structure makes it easy to build relationships and enjoy your first year as Highlands Cowboys and Cowgirls!

Why does NMHU have LCs for all first-year students?

NMHU understands the role of community in success. We’ve adapted our program based on research conducted at top national institutions. At Highlands, we pride ourselves on providing the most quality education, which includes engaging programs focused on student success through community building and experiential learning. Our data shows improvements in GPA and scholarship qualification for our fall 2015 FYE students.

Click the image below to view some of our FYE data.

data for web

How will I be placed in an LC?

Students are placed in LCs based on a variety of preference factors. Students will provide information about their past experiences, preferences, interests, and goals in a survey, and that information is used to place students in the LC that best fits them. You can rest assured that you will be placed with a group of students who share similar qualities with you, which will make it easier to build friendships and work together for everyone’s success.

What LCs might I be placed in?

Click the four Hacienda brands below to explore each:




What kind of experiences will I have in my LC?

LCs connect multiple courses to guide students in making connections between seemingly unconnected content, which is the basis of meaningful learning. You will also apply what you learn in the classroom to “real-world” situations through field experiences, case studies, and other “hands-on” activities. These types of learning experiences are based on what research shows about how we learn best. You will also participate in the “First-Year Competitions” where your Highlands Hacienda will compete in academic and non-academic activities throughout the semester. At semester’s end, you will have the opportunity to showcase your LC work in a Celebration of Learning event.


First Year Experience

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