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Recognizing the importance of a successful beginning in college, Virginia Tech made a commitment in 2009 to improve the first-year experiences for all students in their first year at Virginia Tech. The initiative emerged from the response to the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) component of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) Reaffirmation of Accreditation process. Originally branded as Pathways to Success, now known broadly as First-Year Experiences or FYE, the courses are designed to engage students in curricular and co-curricular learning opportunities and intellectual and practical skills that are foundational to development into lifelong learners. 

The concept has grown from about 1,000 students during the 2010-11 academic year to over 6,000 students in the 2018-2019 academic year.

Programs include specific FYE courses, Peer Mentoring, and the Common Book.