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Career Exploration and Success
First-Year Interest Group Seminars

First-Year Interest Group Seminars (FIGS)

To Teach. To Learn. To Inspire.

We’ve developed engaging one-credit courses–taught by a select group of experienced Peer Instructors–that introduce first-year students to dozens of exciting fields and to a wide range of involvement, academic, and professional development opportunities here at Rutgers.

Interested in teaching a course at Rutgers? Peer Instructors are full-time juniors or seniors (at least 54 credits) at the beginning of the fall semester that can teach a FIGS course.

24,000+
First-year Students Have Taken a FIGS
98%
Rate the Teaching Effectiveness of Our Peer Instructor as Good or Excellent
1100+
Students Have Served as Peer Instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are FIGS available to all first-year students?

    Currently, only students enrolling in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and the Rutgers Business School are able to enroll in a FIGS.

    How many students are in a FIGS?

    Each FIGS has no more than twenty-five first-year students. The small class size means that our courses are a great way to get to know fellow students and your FIGS Peer Instructor.

    I’m not sure what I want to major in. How should I select my FIGS topic?

    FIGS are a great opportunity to learn more about an area that interests you and explore related majors, minors, and career paths. Ultimately, you should care about the content of the class so select a topic that you’d like to learn more about.

    What should I expect each week in my FIGS?

    Your weekly FIGS class will be planned and facilitated by your Peer Instructor. FIGS are seminar courses, which means they are based on participation. You will receive the most benefit from this class if you come each week and take advantage of learning from your Peer Instructor and fellow students. All FIGS students will have the opportunity to hear from a peer panel, meet a faculty member, explore the various aspects of your interest area, and learn about the many services and resources available at Rutgers. You will have some short homework assignments and projects, but they are all designed to complement your learning, not provide you with busywork.

    How do I register for a FIGS?

    When you attend an advising day, talk to your academic advisor about taking a FIGS and indicate your choices on the appropriate course registration form. You can select up to four FIGS courses and rank them in order of preference.  If you did not indicate interest in taking a FIGS during your advising day, first-year students can add a FIGS during the Drop/Add period at the beginning of the fall semester. Visit WebReg to register for FIGS courses (course number 01:090:120). To see the list of available FIGS, visit the Schedule of Classes. Don’t delay. FIGS fill quickly.

    Will I get my first FIGS choice?

    We will make every attempt to place you in your first choice; however, your schedule may require that we place you in one of your other choices. If you do not see your first choice on your schedule, you can try to sign up for an open FIGS during the Drop/Add period.

    Can I add a FIGS if I do not receive it on my fall schedule?

    First-year students can add a FIGS during the Drop/Add period at the beginning of the fall semester. Visit WebReg to register for FIGS courses (course number 01:090:120). To see the list of available FIGS, visit the Schedule of Classes. Don’t delay. FIGS fill quickly.

    Can I take a FIGS and a Byrne Seminar?

    Yes. If you are interested in both FIGS and Byrne Seminars, you should note this on your course request form when selecting your fall classes. FIGS are only offered during the fall. Byrne Seminars are offered in both fall and spring semesters.

    How am I graded in FIGS?

    FIGS are one-credit courses graded Pass/No Credit. There will be some homework to complete, but you will spend much of your time in this course exploring your interest area, discussing hot topics, and learning about the many resources available to you at Rutgers.

    Does participation in FIGS impact my grade point average?

    No. FIGS are graded Pass/No Credit, which means you do not receive a letter grade. Therefore the grade that you receive is not factored into your grade point average.

    Does the credit count towards graduation?

    Yes, all students who successfully participate in FIGS will receive one credit, which counts towards graduation. If you do not come to class and fail to complete the minimum assignments, you may receive no credit in the course. FIGS do not satisfy specific core curriculum requirements.

    Can I drop my FIGS?

    Similar to other classes at Rutgers, you can withdraw from a FIGS class without a "W" on your transcript during the academic Add/Drop period. After this period, you can still withdraw with a "W" on your transcript by the posted deadline found on the Registrar's website.

  • What do FIGS Peer Instructors do?

    Peer Instructors (PIs) are responsible for teaching one section of a First-Year Interest Group Seminar (FIGS). Each FIGS class meets a total of ten times during the fall semester only (once a week for eighty minutes). PIs plan, develop, and implement their own course curricula—designing classes around their academic expertise and the nine FIGS Elements—and serve as helpful mentors, aiding students in adjusting to college life and understanding the many resources available at Rutgers.

    What are the qualifications to become a FIGS Peer Instructor?

    To become a PI, you must be a full-time, upper-class Rutgers undergraduate, a junior or senior with at least fifty-four credits completed prior to teaching your fall-semester FIGS class. You must also have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher at the time of application and during the following semester (3.2 GPA preferred), participate in all training sessions, and register for the 3 credit Peer Instructor Education seminar in the fall.

    How do I apply?

    Applications are typically available in late November and due in late January.

    When will you hold interviews for the position?

    Following the review of applications, select candidates will be invited to sign up for a group interview in early February. A limited number of candidates will be advanced to participate in the final interview, an individual interview, during February and March. Final selection announcements will be made in mid to late March.

    Who are the interviewers, and what does the process entail?

    The selection committee consists of professional and graduate staff and former PIs.  The group process will allow the interview team to see each candidate’s leadership, presentation, and facilitation skills in action.  Candidates do not need to prepare anything in advance for the group interview.   

    For the individual interview, candidates will be asked to facilitate a 10-minute teaching demonstration covering a topic related to their topical area.  These interviews will allow candidates to discuss their interests, skills and experiences with several members of the selection committee.  The purpose of the interviews is for us to get to know you better and for you to see if becoming a PI is the right leadership position for you.

    What if I can't make the interview days?

    You are expected to be available for the interview process so any missed interviews will be handled on a case-by-case basis. If you’re not available, you may not be eligible to apply for the position. Please email figs@echo.rutgers.edu with questions.

    What are we looking for in Peer Instructor candidates?

    We are looking for candidates who are committed to their studies, involved in the Rutgers community, and excited about mentoring first-year students. Strong leadership and public speaking skills are a plus!

    When does the position start, and what is the time commitment?

    Serving as a PI is a major commitment. Once chosen, PIs must attend an orientation event in April and training in May and August, and they must plan and write their lesson plans during the summer months. Once the fall semester arrives, PIs teach their FIGS, attend Peer Instructor Education, and hold office hours for eighty minutes once each week (for ten weeks).

    Are Peer Instructors compensated for their services?

    Peer Instructors receive a stipend of $1250 and 3 credits for the Peer Instructor Education course they enroll in during the fall they are teaching their FIGS course.

    When is Peer Instructor Education offered?

    Three sections of PI Education will be offered in the fall. Specific class times will be announced prior to fall registration. Peer Instructors rank their class section preferences and then receive a SPN for registration.  While Peer Instructors receive 3 credits for the course, it only meets for 80 minutes a week during the fall as summer training hours count for course credit.  All PIs must be able to register for this three-credit course in order to teach FIGS.

    How can I learn more about becoming a Peer Instructor?

    For more information, e-mail figs@echo.rutgers.edu.