First Course & Advisor

Getting your academic journey started.

Spark Courses

Spark courses are an exciting way for first-year students to get started on their journey at Beloit College. Your Spark course is your first taste of the engaged, hands-on, eclectic, think-on-your-feet learning that defines a Beloit education. Each course is designed not only to “spark” your interest in a subject matter, but also to help ignite your excitement for and engagement in a liberal arts education.

Every first-year student will be enrolled in a Spark course taught by a faculty member who will also serve as their primary academic advisor for the first two years at Beloit. Spark advisors assist new students choose the rest of their classes during New Student Days in August. Advisors will help students acclimate to college life by pointing them in the right direction towards resources (tutoring, health and wellness, library, etc.) that are useful in and out of the classroom. The advisors connect with these students individually and work with them on skills such as reading/writing, note-taking, time management and interpersonal interactions.

Some of the courses will be made entirely of first-year students, and others will have both first-year students and continuing students. We want you to choose a course that sounds interesting to you, regardless of what you think your major field might become. We’ve made sure all Spark courses fulfill one of the all-college graduation requirements.

Initiatives Program Advising Objectives

You will work with your advisor individually, in seminar, and in Initiatives advising workshops to ensure that, by the end of your second year, you have:

  • articulated in writing your projected program of study and your reasons for choosing it;
  • planned for undertaking at least one Liberal Arts in Practice experience that is exciting to you and makes sense in the context of your academic plan, whether through study abroad, community-based learning, internship or research options, or other engagement beyond the traditional classroom; and
  • declared your major(s), and possibly minor(s), and established an advising relationship with a professor in the chosen area(s) of study.

You should also be able:

  • to reflect on your experiences so as to identify your own interests, strengths, and challenges; and
  • to articulate your educational goals and strategies for achieving them.


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