A hallmark of Yale’s advising system is the First-Year Counselor Program, which affords first-year students access to experienced, mature, and knowledgeable members of the senior class. The program selects exceptional seniors to live among first-year students on Old Campus or in residential colleges and offer oversight, advice, and guidance.

First-Year Counselors, colloquially known as “FroCos,” seek to ease the transition of incoming first-years to the academic, social, and cultural life of Yale College.

First-Year Counselor Applicants

The opportunity to support students encountering Yale for the first time is profoundly important and uniquely rewarding. In the eyes of many first-years, no position at Yale is more significant; and for many counselors, no other job is more satisfying.

At the same time, given the heavy demands of the position, applicants are urged think critically about how serving as a counselor fits into their plans and obligations for senior year. They are encouraged to discuss the prospect of applying with their residential college dean. They may also find it useful to consult heads of residential colleges, cultural center directors, and current first-year counselors.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply, students must:

  • Be seniors in good academic standing during both terms of the academic year 2021-2022. This year we may be able to allow seniors who will complete their course of study in Fall 2022, as well as from those who will graduate in Spring 2022, to serve as FroCos.
  • Possess the skills necessary to work with students of a variety of ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, and religions;
  • Demonstrate a strong record of academic success, personal maturity, and commitment to serving others;
  • Students who have overcome significant academic or personal challenges during their Yale careers may have points of view that are unique and valuable for first-years. Qualified applicants should consult the residential college dean and/or Dean Hannah Peck.

Candidates with experience working with the cultural centers, OISS, Chaplain’s Office, LGBTQ community, and others are highly encouraged to apply.

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Duties and Expectations

Given the somewhat unpredictable needs of first-years, it is impossible to anticipate all the duties that a counselor might be expected to perform. The primary responsibilities, however, are listed below.

Any applicant with concerns about their ability to fulfill one or more of these duties should consult their residential college dean. Otherwise, a counselor who fails to meet these expectations may be subject to immediate dismissal from the program.

The core duties are as follows:

  • Model exemplary conduct, abiding by the Undergraduate Regulations and the Campus Compact.
  • Attend fully the spring training sessionsfrom May 20-30. (These will be virtual.)
  • Attend fully the fall training sessions that will begin one week before first-years arrive on campus. (The form of these sessions has yet to be determined. They may be virtual, in-person, or both.)
  • Attend all mandatory first-year events. (This schedule is also still in process, but you will have it soon.)
  • Welcome your first-years once they are assigned to you over the summer, facilitate conversations as part of their orientation, and support their transition to Yale. Including adjusting to social distancing expectations, quarantines and isolations, and other public health constraints.
  • Set clear expectations for first-years about the FroCo/Frosh relationship. This always involves setting boundaries and sticking to them throughout the year. FroCos do hold authority as part of their position. Setting up clear boundaries at the beginning makes it much easier to navigate difficult conversations later.
  • As a team, establish an on-call schedule for responding rapidly to student emergencies while also following the current public health guidelines. We strongly recommend that at high-risk times (weekends, Halloween, etc.) you have two FroCos sharing the on-call responsibility; for your own support, you may want to always work in pairs. Traditionally, there are a few days each year when we ask all FroCos to be on-call, like Spring Fling. Depending on how those events shape up for the 21-22 year, we may need the FroCos to serve in this capacity.
  • Assist your dean and head in quickly identifying any matters of concern for first-year students so that they can arrange for appropriate advising and support.
  • Immediately address any first-year violations of the Undergraduate Regulations and the Community Compact, and report such violations to the head/dean/appropriate body. In situations where the behavior cannot be ended or resolved though the FroCos’ engagement, FroCos should work with their Deans and/or the Public Health Coordinator, as appropriate, to assist.
  • Hold supportive follow-up conversations with any of your first-years who find themselves in an emergency situation, have violated the Undergraduate Regulations, or have violated the Community Compact, with a focus on helping the student process and learn from their experience.
  • Regularly engage first-years in your group throughout the year, both individually and through group check-ins, and be responsive when they reach out to you. Your residential college dean will offer guidance throughout the year on the safety/advisability of virtual vs. in person engagement.
  • Advise first-years on issues related to adjusting to college life and connect them to appropriate resources on campus. Help foster positive engagement among the first-years, including those who may be studying remotely.
  • Assist with Blue Booking, provide peer academic advising, connect first-years to academic resources at Yale, and discuss/sign off on your first-years’ schedules.
  • Work as a team to provide consistent social outlets for the first-years in your college to connect with one another.
  • Understand and consistently follow safety protocols, both for emergency and non-emergency situations.
  • Maintain regular contact with the rest of the team. Help ensure that the team’s work is equitably distributed.
  • Collaborate with the other peer support and education programs in your college, including the Communication and Consent Educators (CCEs), Peer Liaisons, the Peer Health Educators, and others on programming, educational materials, and other strategies to support your first-years.
  • Attend weekly meetings with your dean.
  • Submit end-of-year reports on each of your first-years.

Advising and Oversight

Counselors should be thoroughly familiar with Chapters I, II, and III of the Yale College Programs of Study, which explain in detail the undergraduate curriculum and academic regulations of Yale College. 

Counselors should also be thoroughly familiar with the Undergraduate Regulations and must assume reasonable responsibility for seeing that their first-years honor the regulations contained therein, particularly the rules concerning social functions, alcoholic beverages, noise, fire extinguishers, and fire alarms. Counselors are expected to address immediately any violations they encounter and report them to the residential college dean or head. They are also expected to report promptly any custodial or security concerns they notice to the dean, head, or other appropriate administrator.

Teamwork and Communication

Counselors should not attempt to carry out their responsibilities alone. They are expected to work in concert with a team of counselors who collectively help first-year students adjust to college life. Counselor teams meet weekly with their residential college dean and are frequently in touch throughout the week by email and phone. In addition, the head counselor from each team meets independently with the representatives of other teams to discuss matters that affect more than one college.

All counselors must post their photos on the Yale Facebook so that the head or dean can readily remind him or herself of the student in this role as need be.

Conduct & Professionalism

Inasmuch as counselors are expected to assist Yale College in upholding the Undergraduate Regulations, it is assumed that counselors will themselves be exemplary in their conduct. A counselor who violates the Undergraduate Regulations, and is thereby subject to censure from the Executive Committee, may be immediately dismissed from the program at the discretion of the YCDO.

Counselors assume positions of professional responsibility and are therefore expected to relate to first-years in a manner that is appropriate to their position. Because of the unequal dynamic inherent in the relationship between counselors and first-years, sexual interactions between them are inappropriate. Counselors must not, therefore, engage in any romantic or sexual behavior with any first-year or admitted student who has not yet matriculated, regardless of whether the behavior is consensual. Counselors who violate this restriction will be immediately dismissed from the program.

Prioritization of Counselor Commitments

Serving as a counselor should be a student’s primary extracurricular activity. A counselor may only accept a second term-time job for up to ten hours per week with prior permission from the residential college dean. The same restriction holds for any significant extracurricular commitment that would demand more than ten hours per week.

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Residence

Counselors are housed in one of the entryways for first-year students, either on Old Campus or in Timothy Dwight, Benjamin Franklin, Pauli Murray or Silliman. All counselors are housed in single bedrooms, usually in a suite shared with at least one other counselor

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FAQs

Where will the FroCos live? 

First-year students will be housed in the residential colleges for the 21-22 academic year, due to the increased class size of the Class of 2025. All FroCos will reside in their residential college in close proximity to the first-year students. 

How will the FroCos be paid? 

FroCo compensation comes in the form of a portion of a room and board credit. Some students have their room and board covered in another way; in that case, the payment is used for other Yale bills or given as credit to the student’s account. For examples, please visit the FroCo Website Compensation section. [link] 

Since the Class of 2025 will be larger than usual, will you be hiring extra FroCos? 

Yes, we will allocate extra FroCos across the 14 colleges to help with the extra first-year students assigned to those colleges.

Can I apply to be a FroCo if I am planning to graduate in December of 2022 instead of May of 2021? 

The increased flexibility brought by the expansion of the FroCo program for the 21-22 academic year means that it may be possible to hire seniors who will complete their studies in December of 2022 as well as those who will graduate in May 2022. Any member of the class of 2022 who finds themselves in this position may submit a FroCo application. We will follow up with more information once we have it.

Will FroCos be expected in have in-person interactions with their first-years? 

Under current pandemic conditions, the FroCos will not be required to have in-person interactions with first-year students. If particular FroCos teams decide to interact in person with their first years in ways that adhere to the current public health guidance, they may discuss this option with their dean. Should vaccination or other interventions dramatically reduce the risk of contagion, FroCos may be expected to resume their traditional in-person duties, such as hosting events on duty nights, responding in person to emergencies, and intervening in dangerous situations such as parties that are growing out of control.

Will FroCos have Covid related responsibilities?  

FroCos will be expected to help their first-years adapt to life on campus, including following the current public health guidelines. To that end, FroCos may be asked to have conversations with their first-years if those guidelines are broken. FroCos will also be expected to intervene if they witness first-years breaking the Community Compact, just as they do if first-years violate the Undergraduate Regulations. As FroCos will not be required to respond in person, they will be asked to alert others—in the moment and to follow-up—to any serious or ongoing first-year Compact violations of which they become aware.

How many hours do counselors work per week? 

It differs from week to week. The workload is heaviest at the beginning of the academic year and during exam seasons. In general, the workload eases a bit over the course of the year. 

The dean predetermines certain work hours, such as duty nights. However, much of a counselor’s work occurs on ad hoc basis, such as initiating connections with first-years or responding to crisis situations. 

Does duty prevent a counselor from attending special events such as Masquerade? 

When there are special events that most or all of the counselors wish to attend, each counselor typically covers about an hour of duty. Outside that hour, the counselor may attend the event; however, they must also be ready—and able—to assist a first-year should the need arise. Senior Masquerade is an exception: every counselor may attend the event in its entirety (but is still on call). 

May counselors be active participants in senior societies? 

Yes. However, whenever conflicts occur, counselor obligations must take precedence over society activities (as with all other extracurricular activities). 

To whom do counselors report? 

The Yale College Dean’s Office runs the First-Year Counselor Program and hires the selected counselors each year. However, residential college deans manage the individual college teams on a day-to-day basis. 

What is the YCDO looking for in counselors? 

The most crucial quality in a counselor is empathy. A counselor’s mission is tocare for first-years in order that they feel welcomed by the Yale community and equipped to succeed academically and socially.

Counselor teams are intended to be as diverse as possible in many senses: they are designed to include some extroverts, some introverts, students from different backgrounds, students studying different disciplines, and students with different functional strengths like organization or creativity. 

Each year, certain counselors are selected who struggled one way or another in their first few years at Yale. These challenges might be related, for example, to academics, mental health, or finances. Such experiences often shape people into particularly compassionate adults. As first-years grapple with many types of obstacles, it is helpful to have counselors who can directly relate. 

May counselors drink alcohol in the same space as their counselees? 

No. This policy is in place to protect counselors, who are employees of Yale and as such carry some authority. A counselor who witnesses a first-year drinking and does not intervene assumes some responsibility for any situation that may later arise as a result. 

However, this restriction is less obtrusive than it may seem at first. The only common environment in which a counselor and counselee have access to alcohol within the same space is a student organization event. Counselors who plan to remain active in such a student organization should work with the organization’s leadership at the beginning of the year to explain the restriction. Most organizations have been able to manage this restriction without a problem. 

Does the above policy apply to college events? 

If alcohol at an event is managed by a professional organization (like at a college dance), a counselor may drink and be in the same space as a counselee. (In this case, of course, very few first-years will be able to drink anyway.) 

May counselors have alcohol in their suites? 

Yes, if of legal age. At the same time, counselors are expected to be extremely responsible in their use of alcohol and set a good example for the first-years.

May counselors have parties in their suites? 

Yes, insofar as the party is contained within the suite, follows the Community Compact, does not have first-years in attendance, and does not attract negative attention. Again, FroCos are expected to maintain exemplary standards of behavior. 

May counselors have a second job? 

Yes, provided permission from the residential college dean. FroCo duties take priority over all other commitments, so any second job must be flexible and limited to 10 hours per week. 

May counselors be romantically or sexually involved with first-year students? 

No. Counselors have a great deal of authority and influence in the lives of first-years. The inherently imbalanced power dynamic is inappropriate for any romantic or sexual interaction, even if consensual. This restriction holds irrespective of whether the first-year and the counselor share the same college affiliation. 

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Compensation

Compensation is provided to FroCos in the form of a partial room and board credit. The specific amount in a given college depends on the average number of counselees per counselor. This differs between colleges depending on how many FroCos the college decides to hire. The exact payment amount is linked to the cost of room and board. Once the room and board costs for 21-22 are posted, we will have the finalized payment amounts.

In the 19-20 academic year, FroCos in the ten colleges whose first-years lived on Old Campus, each counselor was paid $10,934 for the 2019-20 academic year. Counselors in Franklin, Murray, and Silliman were paid $8,747, while counselors in TD were paid $7,654.

Student Financial and Administrative Services treats counselor compensation as job earnings. Therefore, counselor compensation does not affect a student’s financial aid award. Moreover, Yale does not consider counselor compensation to be taxable, so counselors do not receive a 1099 form. Compensation will be automatically credited to the counselor’s account with Student Financial & Administrative Services before the beginning of each term. To learn more about counselor compensation, see the spreadsheet of financial examples for FroCos (XLSX) and/or contact your financial aid adviser at SFAS.

Counselors seeking additional income may work a second job for up to 10 hours a week provided permission from the residential college dean.

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