Build a life that matters on firm ground.

The Terra Firma program, our first-year experience for incoming students, is all about helping you build a firm foundation (Latin meaning) as you continue to move forward as a follower of Christ and an academic student. It is a means for you to start off your college experience well by giving you the opportunity to get to know the Cornerstone community before classes start.

The CU Edge: Terra Firma

Your immersion into the Cornerstone campus community begins with Terra Firma, our year-long program that places each first-year student in a cohort of twelve fellow students led by a faculty or staff member. For more information on what matters to Cornerstone University, visit cornerstone.edu/why-cornerstone-university/undergrad/the-cu-edge.


With a pre-read assignment structured to facilitate group discussion during the course of your first year, you'll join 10-12 committed disciples of Christ in articulating how to integrate faith, learning, and cultural engagement. You'll listen, participate, and respond in tangible ways to both local and global needs. And you'll build formational relationships with classmates, faculty members, residence life staff, and members of the university's campus community.

Core Values

The Terra Firma experience is built upon four things we passionately believe God cares deeply about in Scripture, and these key ideas will serve as the major curriculum concepts you will learn about during your initial year.

  • Christ matters. Jesus Christ is the most compelling figure in human history and longs for you to be a devoted follower of Him as a disciple and member of His church body.

  • Community matters. You are designed by God to be in community where you experience deep and meaningful relationships with other followers of Jesus.

  • Character matters. You are called to be a person of character who models integrity and godliness as you live out your faith for the world to see.

  • Culture matters. You are desperately needed in our culture to be a force for good and be fully engaged rather than separated from lives and communities that need to experience the redemption and restoration Jesus longs to bring to them through people like you and me.

These four ideas are so compelling they are indeed worth basing and building your life upon! You'll grow and change as you examine these ideas in the academic and experiential realms and ultimately use them as a launching point into your college experience.

Student Leadership Cohort

For in-depth leadership training and development, apply to join the Student Leadership Cohort. You'll join a section of students passionate about excelling as leaders on campus and in their respective fields of study. Using selected readings to supplement the Terra Firma coursework and being mentored by staff members, you'll grow as a leader in community with other incoming students.

Passage Expedition

Journey with a small group of incoming students to northern Michigan for a five-day rock climbing and backpacking trip prior to the start of the semester. No experience required! For more information, contact Kristie Neff.

2015 Passage Expedition Overview