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L.E.A.R.N. Questions & Answers



Explore the information below to learn more about L.E.A.R.N.™ at WCU.

Who Can Apply?

L.E.A.R.N.™ at WCU is accepting two separate cohorts of students. Students who are first-generation college students (i.e., parents do not have a four-year degree) and students who are traditionally underrepresented in the field are strongly encouraged to apply. This program is designed specifically for non-Honors College students.


F-L.E.A.R.N. is a program designed for high school seniors who have been admitted to WCU, and are planning to major in the following fields: College of Engineering (all majors), College of Arts & Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Forensic Science, Geosciences, Environmental Sciences, and Natural Resources). F-L.E.A.R.N. students must live in WCU Residence Hall to participate.


T-L.E.A.R.N. is a program designed for transfer students joining WCU from other state or community colleges, and are planning to major in the following fields: College of Engineering (all majors), College of Arts & Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Forensic Science, Geosciences, Environmental Sciences, and Natural Resources).  

Why Should I Apply?

There are numerous advantages for participants:

  • Receive an academic scholarship. F-L.E.A.R.N. students receive up to $500, and T-L.E.A.R.N. receive up to $2,000. Scholarships will be processed by Student Financial Aid and all financial aid rules & regulations will apply.
  • Get an opportunity to research apprentices with faculty and upper-level undergraduate and graduate students- a rare opportunity for freshmen and transfer students!
  • Build community with other students who have similar interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a deluxe university residence hall for F-L.E.A.R.N. students, and a deluxe personal space for T-L.E.A.R.N. students.
  • Students in L.E.A.R.N. will take two courses together: Introduction to Research I (fall semester) and Undergraduate Research in the Discipline (spring semester). These courses will prepare and support students in their research apprenticeships. F-L.E.A.R.N. and T-L.E.A.R.N. students take separate sections, but alongside their cohort members.
  • Work closely with a peer, upper- and graduate-level mentors throughout your first year.
  • Work closely with a first-year academic advisor and L.E.A.R.N.™ faculty & staff.
  • Make lasting improvements in your academic achievement.
  • Develop strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which help you market yourself in future research, academic, and career endeavors.
  • Standout as internship candidates for off-and-on campus research and academic opportunities.
  • Build a lasting network of professional relationships for lasting careers.

What Are the Deadlines to Apply?

Applications for the 2019-2020 are now open. Currently, the deadline to apply for both F-L.E.A.R.N. and T-L.E.A.R.N. is May 30, 2019. Please visit the Application Page.

  • Please look on the homepage and the application page for periodic application updates.
  • Please plan to apply, even if your current acceptance status is unknown. We will still consider applicants who are waiting to hear from Admissions. Acceptance into the program is contingent upon final acceptance, and a student's intent to attend through their deposits to WCU.

What is A Living-Learning Community?

A living-learning community (LLC) is a residential group of students who share academic and/or social interests. Research indicates that LLC participants have higher GPAs, increased interaction with faculty and peers, and increased campus involvement. A LLC provides the following to participants: (1) a small college setting at a large university, (2) personal relationships among students, faculty and staff, and (3) a nurturing atmosphere to increase learning and retention. A learning community (LC) on campus is designed with many of the same principles as an LLC but does not have a living component associated with it. Our T-L.E.A.R.N. program is a learning community funded by the National Science Foundation. We will offer T-L.E.A.R.N. students a deluxe learning and community space, available throughout the academic work week.

Do I Have to Live In Harrill Hall?

Yes, all F-L.E.A.R.N.™ students live in the L.E.A.R.N.™ community as a cohort, working together to achieve success at the university and beyond. T-L.E.A.R.N. students do not have to live in the Harrill Residence Hall while part of the L.E.A.R.N. program. We understand that transfer students may be commuting on a daily basis.


We offer T-L.E.A.R.N.™ students a deluxe community space, where they can study, share ideas, and build community while in L.E.A.R.N™. If you are a transfer student with a need for an on-campus living we suggest requesting Reynolds Hall through Residence Life. Reynolds Hall serves many transfer students.

What Courses Do I Take for L.E.A.R.N.?

Students take two courses together: Introduction to Research I (fall semester) and Undergraduate Research in the Discipline (spring semester). Each course is an elective credit course that is tailored specifically for L.E.A.R.N.™ students. The class will meet twice a week before and after the apprenticeship period. During the 12-week apprenticeship period, the class will meet once a week. Instructors are focused on providing understanding, skills, and support to L.E.A.R.N.™ students while they engage in their apprenticeships.

What are the program requirements?

In addition to the Introduction to Research courses and the Research Apprenticeship, L.E.A.R.N.™ participants will also engage in a variety of academic, social, and community service events. Participants can expect regular activities and social events with their L.E.A.R.N.™ cohort, mentors, and faculty & staff.


Students must maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA, be actively engaged in their research, and attend 6 program events per semester. By maintaining eligibility the L.E.A.R.N.™ student continues to receive program benefits such as the L.E.A.R.N.™ scholarship, preferential advising, and career opportunities sponsored by L.E.A.R.N.™.

What is the Research Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship in a research environment will be implemented a few weeks into the program. Participation in our summer digital activities assists program leaders with research placements. Students will work three hours per week with an undergraduate or graduate student/faculty mentor team. For the L.E.A.R.N. cohorts, the formal 12-week apprenticeship will begin and end in the spring semester. During the fall semester, L.E.A.R.N participants will participate in formal research shadowing opportunities, aimed at easing participants into the more formal research apprenticeship in the spring semester. Participants have opportunity to gain hands-on experience while learning laboratory techniques, processing data, and helping with experiments. The goal is for L.E.A.R.N.™ students to be supported and engaged in the unique hands-on learning that research provides. This is an exciting opportunity for first-year and transfer students, which will help them be successful from the first moment they enter Western.

How Do I apply?

Apply to L.E.A.R.N.™ by clicking on the Application page, located under related information. Please note that there are separate applications for F-L.E.A.R.N. and T-L.E.A.R.N. students. Make sure you enter your information on the application that matches your designation as either an F-L.E.A.R.N. applicant or T-L.E.A.R.N. applicant. Please plan to apply even if you are waiting on your admission status.

How Many Students participate?

We can accept as many as 20 students into each cohort (F-L.E.A.R.N and T-L.E.A.R.N.) for Fall 2019-Spring 2020 academic year. We will also post periodic updates on the application page and homepage. Even if we have accepted 20 applicants, please apply. Some students may switch majors, programs of study, and even schools, early in the semester. L.E.A.R.N.™ will keep an active wait list from our application pool.

Can I Participate in Other Campus Programs?

As a L.E.A.R.N.™ student you can still participate in Greek life, Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), clubs, sports, etc. In fact, we encourage participation in a variety of activities. Students should consider the time commitments of other activities as it relates to the commitments for L.E.A.R.N™. Students who commit to our program should consider making L.E.A.R.N.™ a top academic and social priority. Students accepted to F-L.E.A.R.N. will not be able to participate in other LLC's as the demand for time, participation, and credit hours will overload a student's schedule.

Are there expectations of Me prior to arrival in the Fall?


1. As an incoming freshman or transfer student joining L.E.A.R.N. please register for the June 13-14, 2019 WCU FTIC Orientation (special spots are reserved for L.E.A.R.N. program participants). If you have applied to the L.E.A.R.N.™ program (whether you've been accepted yet or not), please register for these orientation sessions. It is a general freshman orientation, so even if you are not accepted to the program, you will still be able to attend as a regular student. If you can not make these dates but are still interested in participating in the L.E.A.R.N™ program, please contact L.E.A.R.N. Academic Advisor, Ken Pfaff at 828-227-2125 or at

2. Submit the following with WCU to secure your place in L.E.A.R.N.™, once accepted:

  • Signed L.E.A.R.N. Student Contract
  • Tuition deposit
  • Financial Aid Authorization form
  • Housing deposit & agreement (for F-L.E.A.R.N., only)
  • Register with Student Disabilities Services (only if you require residential and academic accommodations)

3. Participate in the summer community building activity that will be held digitally for accepted L.E.A.R.N. students. Participation in this activity is mandatory, as it assists in the matching of students with mentors and research teams prior to the start of the fall semester. Students who do not participate in the summer activity can potentially lose their place in the L.E.A.R.N. program, as it is an essential component of program engagement, communication, and research placement.

Who do I contact for more information?

Contact WCU's Program Coordinator for L.E.A.R.N.™, Mrs. Kloo C. Hansen, in the Office of the Provost. The email address and the preferred method of contact is Please include LEARN at WCU program in the subject line. You will generally get a response within 24-48 hours. 

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