First Year Experience

Living on campus during your first year is a signature part of the UM experience. Residential first-year students live within one of our five Residential Colleges: Coral, Eaton, Ibis, Mahoney, and Pearson. In the Residential Colleges, you will be surrounded by a supportive community of Residential Faculty, peer student leaders like First-Year Fellows and Resident Assistants, and a plethora of professional staff who are here to guide you during your transition to college.

Finding Your Community

From day one, you will be a part of two distinct residential communities.

First is an academic cohort comprised of peers from the same academic school or college who live near you. This community is led by your First-Year Fellow, an upper-class student leader that is trained to mentor and guide you through your transition to the U academically, professionally, and personally. The goal of the cohort is to help you find peers early on in your UM career that are on a similar academic or professional journey. We hope you will spend time with your cohort peers both in class, and back at home in your Residential College.

The second community you’ll belong to is made up of your neighbors on your floor. This community is led by your Resident Assistant, an upper-class student leader that promotes community, plans social events, provides personal support, aids in conflict resolution, and helps you to feel comfortable in your living environment. You will spend much of your time on your floor, bonding with your neighbors, and creating lifelong friendships.

First-Year Cup

The First-Year Cup is a new tradition at the University of Miami that seeks to promote social integration and successful transition of the residential first-year class through competition amongst the Residential Colleges. The First-Year Cup is comprised of four categories: academics, athletics, community involvement, and service. Residents accrue points throughout the year by participating in events and activities as well as through various challenge by choice competitions designed to help residents build relationships and form lasting memories.

In addition to earning points for your respective Residential College, the First-Year Cup rewards individual participation through the Sticker Exchange Program. Each time you attend an event in the First-Year Residential Colleges, you will receive a sticker representing that event. Stickers can then be verified at the front desk for various prizes.

Be Strong

In the Residential Colleges we prioritize your academics and are here to help you Be Strong during your first year. The Be Strong series kicks off at the beginning of the fall semester with Start Strong, an event that helps you to transition smoothly to college. As the semester progresses, we help you Stay Strong with our STEM support programs, Math Mondays and Chemistry Connections. You’ll also find ongoing support in your academic cohort through events hosted by your First-Year Fellow. The Be Strong series culminates each semester with our signature event, Finish Strong, featuring a variety of review sessions and study tables for popular subjects during final exams and reading days. With the support of these academic events in the Residential Colleges, we know you’ll Be Strong!

Signature Experiences

Residential Faculty

As you walk down the halls of your Residential College, you will find some neighbors you may not have expected, our Residential Faculty. Residential Faculty and their families live in each of our Residential Colleges and are here to support you along your journey at UM. As you see them out and about or attending events in your Residential College, make sure to say hello! You’re sure to find a lifelong mentor in them.

Weekly Open Houses

Each week your Residential College hosts an Open House in the Residential Faculty apartment. These take place on the same day and same time each week, so they are easy to remember. Each Open House features a different activity or topic along with rotating bites. Make sure to attend and get to know your community!

First Year Mixer

Every fall we host the First-Year Mixer during the first week of class. This is an opportunity for you to get to know your peers in other Residential Colleges.

First Year U

First Year U (FYU) is a first-year leadership program held each fall in partnership with the Butler Center for Service and Leadership. FYU is a great opportunity to get to know your peers, FYFs, and Residential Faculty while learning about leadership in non-traditional ways. For more information, check out the FYU website!

Experience Miami Trips

Getting to know the city of Miami is an important part of the UM experience. Throughout your first year, look out for unique opportunities to get off campus and learn about the Magic City.


SportsFest is an annual, weekend-long sporting competition amongst the residential areas. SportsFest began in the Spring Semester of 1986, when the “Honors Residential College” (Hecht) challenged “The Residential College” (Stanford) to a sporting contest. As additional residential colleges were added they were invited to participate. The focus of the event has been and remains building community within and between the residential colleges at the University of Miami. Make sure to show up and show out for your Residential College!

Pancakes with Pat

Do you know Dr. Pat Whitely, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Alumni Engagement? If not, you soon will. Dr. Whitely frequents the Residential Colleges each semester and brings along with her all the pancakes you can eat. Stop by to meet her and her special guests. This is one of the University’s biggest traditions, so do not miss out!

Finish Strong

Finish Strong is a final exam preparatory program hosted by the Residential Faculty at the end of each semester. Finish Strong includes a series of faculty led subject reviews for courses with challenging, high impact final exams such as calculus, chemistry and many more. As Finish Strong comes to a close each day, there are late night study tables featuring faculty and tutors to offer more support. Look out for more information and a full schedule as the end of each semester approaches.

Math and Chemistry Support

Math and Chemistry are two challenging subjects you might take during your first year at UM and we are here to support you through them. Be on the look out for regularly scheduled Math Mondays and Chemistry Connections, where you can get assistance from peers, Residential Faculty and First-Year Fellows. At these events, you’re sure to find a study group and personal support that will help you to be more successful in these tough courses!