New Students

First-Year Advisory Counselor (FAC) Program

Welcome to the First-Year Advisory Counselor (FAC) Program home page! The FAC Board Co-Chairs oversee the training, organization, and activities of the 35 executive FAC Board members as well as approximately 200 sophomores, juniors, and seniors dedicated to promoting a seamless transition to Duke University and Durham communities.

The following contains information for incoming first-year students, current FACs and FAC Board Members, as well as information for potential FAC/FAC Board applicants.

  • Who are we (Mission & FAC Program Pillars)
  • What we do
  • Current FACs
  • How to apply


The purpose of the First-Year Advisory Counselor (FAC) Program is to transition incoming first-year students to college life in order to maximize their experience as a Duke University student and community member.

Pillars of the FAC Program

  1. Building Community
    1. Connect with other FACs and Head FACs
    2. Foster relationships with and between first year students
    3. Continue to connect with new students beyond O-Week
    4. Respect campus and earn respect from peers
    5. Foster pride and enthusiasm in the Duke community
    6. Have fun
  2. Embracing Diversity & Difference
    1. Understanding the value of difference and how it builds community
    2. Create an inclusive environment for FAC groups
    3. Have a compassion for justice and equity
    4. Show empathy toward a diverse group of peers
    5. Develop skills and knowledge base on issues of diversity
  3. Leadership & Skill Development
    1. Facilitating small group discussions
    2. Practice active listening skills
    3. Develop and understand personal leadership style
    4. Develop skills in communication
    5. Develop interpersonal skills
  4.  Positive Role Modeling and Accountability
    1. Serve as an upperclass mentor for incoming first year students
    2. Take pride in advising first year students
    3. Be honest and trustworthy
    4. Empower incoming students to make responsible decisions as a Duke community member
    5. Make good decisions and be responsible for actions
    6. Follow through with FAC commitments and responsibilities
  5. Knowledge of Duke Resources
    1. Serve as a guide to new students to help them navigate campus culture and resources
    2. Refer and connect students with campus resources to enhance their experience
  6. Positively Representing Duke
    1. Act as ambassadors of the university
    2. Set a positive tone for the new class
    3. Create an amazing move-in day experience
    4. Enthusiastically welcome new students and their families
    5. Value and understand contribution to Duke

What We Do

New Student Programs (NSP) in conjunction with a group of nearly 250 student volunteers in the FAC Program work together to successfully support and acclimate each incoming first-year student to collegiate life and, most importantly, their new home at Duke University and the Durham community.


Our program's success rests in the FACs.  While these 200 students have the least extensive time commitment in the program, they are the most important participants.  Each FAC becomes the peer leader and mentor of a group of 6 to 10 incoming first-year students, vested with important responsibilities.
FACs contact each of their first-year student for the first time during the summer before they arrive, offering themselves and their experience as a resource for any questions the students might have before setting foot on campus.  At the end of the summer, the FACs return to campus a week early to be trained in their position. This training is intended to teach FACs leadership skills, increase each FACs knowledge of university resources, and finally build their confidence in facilitating group discussions.

On Move-In Day, the FACs of each residence hall are present as each of the first-years arrive and, as a way of welcoming them, physically move in all of the luggage that each family brings for their student.  This is a most concrete means by which the university and students illustrate strong community values in welcoming their newest members.

Finally, FACs are responsible for leading their first-years through the rest of Orientation Week.   As previously mentioned, one of the major tasks of the FACs is to facilitate discussions (aka FAC Chats) on topics ranging from general transition, community building, and the Duke Common Experience selection.  The FACs are entrusted as student leaders to initiate and lead the first intellectual experience for the first-year students at Duke University.  FACs also join their FAClets for Orientation Week programming on topics related to healthy social decision making and building an inclusive campus climate. FACs serve as a resource and a support system to help their first-year students with some of the most difficult aspects of the transition to the college academic and social scene.

FACs are expected and encouraged to serve as a resource and friend to their first-years throughout the Fall and Spring semesters.

The Head FAC

The FAC Board, composed of approximately 35 junior and seniors students serve as Head FACs in an extended leadership role for the Program.  Head FACs select their incoming teams through the FAC application process in the beginning of the Spring semester.  Concurrently, the FAC Board seeks to build group cohesion through biweekly meetings and regular communication, as well as group activities to develop this tier of leaders.  In the late summer, this dedicated crew returns to campus early to participate in training in preparation for the return of their FAC group to campus.

The Head FACs become capable and dedicated student leaders, vested with the responsibility to build group cohesion and a sense of purpose among their respective groups of approximately 20 FACs.  We see it as invaluable that our Head FACs train their respective FAC groups, as this student-to-student communication builds personal relationships and mentorship skills.  Lastly, Head FACs collaborate with Undergraduate Admissions to support Blue Devil Days, via student hosting and student-to-student conversations.

The FAC Board Co-Chairs

The FAC Board's two Chairs provide leadership for the program at the student level.  These Co-Chairs function as members of the FAC Board who work with an eye towards the facilitation of multi-level program integration.

The Co-Chairs function as a direct line of communication between New Student Programs and the rest of the FAC Program.  Currently, the Co-Chairs logistically ensure that the FAC Board and the FAC program perform all of its major functions with direct advisement from the Office of New Student Programs. 

These functions include:

  • FAC Board recruitment and selection in late fall
  • FAC recruitment and selection in early spring
  • Spring preparations: Head FACs begin team building with their residence hall FAC groups
  • Orientation Week planning: Head FACs assist Office of New Student Programs in developing and planning elements of Orientation Week
  • Blue Devil Days
  • Summer planning and preparation for FAC Board training and orientation week activities
  • FAC Board and FAC training in mid-August: Head FACs train FACs to serve effectively in their roles
  • Orientation Week supervision the week before school starts: Head FACs implement aspects of Orientation Week and usher programming/event
  • Co-Chair selection and program transition in mid-fall

In addition to these organizational concerns, the Co-Chairs are also responsible, along with the support of the FAC Board, for maintaining a more encompassing perspective on the mission of our program and constantly looking for ways in which we can do our job better.

The New Student Programs office (NSP)

Finally, our NSP professionals are pivotal in providing a nexus between an organization with a student foundation and administrative-level responsibilities.  As a source of financial support and accountability, provider of infrastructure and logistical support, and as a liaison between the FAC Program and University administrators across campus, this connection places the FAC Program in a unique position.  Even the FAC volunteer becomes not only accountable to the highest level of the University administration, but also reaps the benefits of this direct connection. 


How to apply!

Prospective FAC Board Member?

New FAC Board members are selected during the fall semester. The FAC Board seeks to recruit energetic upperclass students who demonstrate the following qualities throughout our application and interview process:

  • Peer Leadership Ability
  • Approachability
  • Sincerity
  • Year-long Commitment (FAC Board members typically serve for two years)
  • Duke Love and Enthusiasm

Prospective FAC?

The FAC application opens each year during the spring semester.


FAC Program Co-Chairs:

Casey Johnstone, FAC Program Advisor: