First-Year Forum

Apply to be part of First-Year Forum!

UK has a leadership experience meant exclusively for new students just like you! Join First-Year Forum, share your experiences as a new student, and inform future programming for incoming Wildcats. You’ll participate in monthly meetings and offer feedback and suggestions based on your experience while gaining leadership skills that will aid in your overall success at UK. We’ll connect you to others on campus early on in your time as a Wildcat. When we meet in person, we'll provide a meal, too. The application is open now through August 31, 2021 on BBNvovled. UK faculty, staff, and administrators will have the opportunity to nominate new students to participate as well.

Approximately 25 new students will be selected to participate in the First-Year Forum. These students will represent the incoming class and will be asked to share their experiences – good and bad – related to their first year at UK. They’ll be asked to offer feedback on the orientation process (both Big Blue Nation Orientation and K Week), new student programming, campus resources, support for new students, and more. Our goals are to develop First-Year Forum participants as emerging campus leaders while also using their experiences to improve UK’s work with new students more broadly.


What is expected of First-Year Forum participants?

  • Participate in monthly meetings held September 2021 – April 2022
  • We ask participants to make every effort to attend unless they have an academic excuse. Meetings will include opportunities to share experiences and provide feedback as well as hone valuable skills while interacting with administrators, students, and staff from around campus.


Who do we want to participate in the First-Year Forum?

The ideal First-Year Forum participant will possess:

  • A willingness to authentically share personal experiences
  • Strong communication skills
  • A sense of humor
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • A demonstrated commitment to following through on tasks  
  • An interest in giving back to UK and creating positive change
  • Desire for self-improvement

First-Year Forum is perfect for students who were leaders in their high schools and are looking for ways to get involved as soon as they arrive at UK. Participants will also represent the diversity found within the first-year class (both incoming freshmen and transfers).


What will First-Year Forum participants get out of the experience?

  • Support for your college transition while you’re positively impacting the experience of future Wildcats
  • Connections across campus, including fellow participants, administrators, and staff
  • Enhancing skills that will aid in college success

A previous participant had this to say about the experience: First-Year Forum really makes me feel as though UK is listening. I loved being able to see changes around campus from our suggestions.  I gained a great group of friends and met some amazing staff and faculty who I get to continue working with thanks to First-Year Forum!


What is the selection process?

Students can self-nominate by completing an application and responding to a brief essay prompt. UK faculty, staff, and administrators will have the opportunity to nominate new students to participate as well. All applications will be reviewed by the New Student and Family Programs team and their designees, and invitations to interview will be extended to the top candidates. Approximately 25 new students will be selected with the first meeting taking place before the end of September 2021. All applicants will be notified of their status by the middle of September. 


What impact has First-Year Forum had on campus?

Past First-Year Forum meetings led to improvements and changes to:

  • Big Blue Nation Orientation
  • K Week
  • Family Weekend
  • Campus emails and marketing/outreach
  • Leadership programming
  • UK: Go app
  • And more!


Questions? Email Nancy Stephens at