A freshman, fresher, fish, or frosh is a first-year student in an educational institution. The term first year can also be used as a noun, to describe the students themselves (e.x. They are first years).

United States

In recent years, "first year" has gained popularity as a result of its more descriptive name and gender-neutral language. However, freshman is commonly in use as a US English idiomatic term to describe a beginner or novice, someone who is naive, a first effort, instance, or a student in the first year of study (generally referring to high school or university study). New members of Congress in their first term are referred to as freshman senators or freshman congressman to suggest their lack of experience at their new position, no matter how experienced they were in previous business of government positions.

United Kingdom

The term first year is commonly used in the British education system, although in schools it is no longer in official usage. In England and Wales a student's school career (not including pre-school nursery education) now begins with Reception, usually at the age of four, and continues up to either Year 11 or Year 13 depending on whether the student is going on to higher education. However, in informal usage the term "first year" is still very common. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, the first year of compulsory education is Primary 1 (P1).

Before the introduction of the "Year [number]" system around the early 1990s, the first year or first form almost always referred to the first year of secondary education.

In Scotland, the first year of secondary school is known as S1 and also first year. In Northern Ireland, the first year is known as either "Form 1", "First Form" or "Year 7".

In UK universities, first-year students are also referred to as "freshers", although not "freshmen" or "freshwomen".


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