First-Year Students and Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities

with J. Cody Nielsen, Tim Clydesdale

About This Course

Every year, millions of incoming first-year students experience living on their own for the first time, and the opportunities and challenges of the transition. From this story comes the work of Tim Clydesdal, author of The First Year Out: Lives of American Teenagers Post High School, in which he outlines that the first year is a year of “life management.” With all the framing stories that begin to be built, one of the most important is that of religious and spiritual identity.

Join Cody Nielsen alongside Tim as we explore how colleges and universities can help the first-year student to be curious, find a place to explore, and identify with their religious, secular, and spiritual ideologies in a healthy way. Explore the complexity of the first-year experience and the “life management” aspects Tim has uncovered. And go deep in knowing how to support the first-year student in their transition.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will be able to

  • understand the needs of students who are new to campus and how they need both be exposed and protected from ideologies and belief systems;
  • learn methods to keep these experiences open to other upperclassman students; and
  • articulate why the university needs to pay attention to religious, secular, and spiritual identities as a part of vocational discernment for college first-year students and others.

Accessing the Presentation

Once you complete your registration, you will be able to access the course by clicking on the "Login" button at the top of this page (or any page on

  • You will be asked to login with your NASPA user name and password. Once you have done so, you will hit continue and be redirected to your dashboard in the Online Learning Community.

  • You will find the session listed under "Enrolled."

  • This session is recorded. By clicking into, "Contents," you will find the session recording, resources, and PowerPoint slides. You may view the materials as many times as you'd like, at whatever pace you would like.

  • If you have any difficulty accessing the materials, please contact Jace Kirschner (

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