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First-Year Experience (FYE) programs have become a focal point for efforts to transition and retain all students, as numerous studies suggest that such initiatives deepen students’ academic preparation for college and support their emotional investments in the campus community. Using quantitative and qualitative data gathered from 842 students in 54 courses during Fall 2013 and 2014, this article considers the comparative merits of Living Learning Communities (LLC), “habits of mind” First-Semester Core (FSC) courses, a hybrid-model (LLC-FSC) initiative, and non-FYE courses by considering students’ perception of their academic gains and social engagement. Survey results indicate that students perceive very different benefits across the various FYE models, especially when the FYE is housed in disciplinary rather than general education courses. The comparisons suggest the need for an intentional, goals-oriented approach to FYE programs, as a “one-size fits all” approach may not result in both academic growth and community engagement for students. For institutions with limited faculty and curricular resources, the choice of which type of FYE model to adopt is particularly important.