The second of three videos about planning a balanced course of study, and with Professor David Schorr, Professor of Studio Art, that’s not all the advice you will get! Enjoy!
As you sit down to figure out a balanced course of study, check out this “General Planning Advice” from Professor Ishita Mukerji, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biology and former Dean of Natural Sciences and Math, that is geared towards students of ALL interests.
Also posted in Advising Guidelines!
If you haven’t checked out the Advising Guidelines, do so ASAP. Important advice about how to think about your planning your course of study and specific advice about a range of topics. It includes pearls of wisdom from your class dean–really! ;)–and sage advice from professors and the academic peer advisors. Selected topics will be featured over the next couple of weeks, and reading now (or again) will reinforce all the good info you know.
With over 1000 courses in 45 majors, 14 minors, 12 certificates, and a unique open curriculum choosing classes during pre-registration may seem like a stressful and daunting task. Many students come into Wesleyan without any idea of what they want to study – and that’s totally fine! For most students, major declaration does not happen until the second semester of sophomore year. However, Wesleyan has three majors that require declaration during the spring semester of freshman year. These programs are the College of Social Studies, the College of Letters, and the College of East Asian Studies. While we like to advise students to explore a wide range of classes in their first year of college and hone their interests, if you are thinking about one of these programs, it may affect the decisions that you make during pre-registration. This blog post will provide a description of each of these programs and some suggestions for those who are thinking about choosing one of these majors.
College of Social Studies. The College of Social Studies is a rigorous, multidisciplinary major focusing on History, Government, Political and Social Theory, and Economics. CSS is reading and writing intensive, encouraging intellectual independence with weekly essays, small group tutorials, and a vibrant intellectual environment.
College of Letters. The College of Letters is a interdisciplinary major for the study of European literature, history, and philosophy, from antiquity to the present. During these three years, students participate as a cohort in a series of colloquia in which they read and discuss works together (in English), learn to think critically about texts in relation to their contexts and influences—both European and non-European—and in relation to the disciplines that shape and are shaped by those texts. Majors also become proficient in a foreign language and study abroad in order to deepen their knowledge of another culture.
College of East Asian Studies. The College of East Asian Studies challenges students to understand China, Japan, and Korea through the rigors of language study and the analytical tools of various academic disciplines. This process demands both broad exposure to different subjects and a focused perspective on a particular feature of the East Asian landscape.
For those considering one of these three majors, here are some helpful tips as you select your classes and enter your first semester of college:
Deadlines. CSS, COL, and CEAS require major declaration in the spring of your freshman year. The deadline for CSS and COL is generally in March, and CEAS is in April. The application forms and the exact dates can be found on the department page of each major. If you are thinking about one of these majors, I would recommend talking to people who are in one of these majors or reaching out to any of the faculty members in the major as soon as possible.
Admission Requirements. All CSS majors must complete the economics prerequisite either by taking ECON101 and achieving a grade of CR or a letter grade of at least C- or by taking ECON110 and achieving a grade of CR or a letter grade of at least C-. Some students who have not completed the economics prerequisite are admitted each year on the condition that they must complete the prerequisite in the fall term of the sophomore year. Even if you are possibly thinking about majoring in CSS, I would consider enrolling in an economics course in the first or second semester of your freshmen year.
Language Requirements. COL and CEAS both have language requirements. COL majors must become proficient in a foreign language and study abroad in a country where the selected foreign language is spoken. CEAS majors are expected to take at least four semesters of East Asian language courses and reach a minimum of advanced-level (third-year) competency in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. Majors who are native speakers of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean are expected to study another East Asian language. Those who have already studied a foreign language relevant to one of these majors do not necessarily have to enroll in a foreign language in the first semester. However, for those who need to start at a beginning level, it is highly recommended that you enroll in a language course as early as possible.
General Education Expectations. Only CSS requires completion of Stage II general education requirements (three course credits in HA, SBS, and NSM, all from different departments or programs). However, CSS majors have until the end of junior year to complete Stage I general education requirements (two course credits in each area, all from different departments or programs). While COL and CEAS do not have general education requirements, it is highly recommended that ALL students complete Stage II general education requirements. A student who does not meet these expectations by the time of graduation will not be eligible for University honors, Phi Beta Kappa, honors in general scholarship, or for honors in certain departments and may not declare more than a combined total of two majors, certificates, and minors.
If you have any further questions about any of these three programs, we encourage you to check each college’s website in WesMaps and on Wesvising, and/or reach out to a peer advisor or to a faculty member in the specific department.
Use this time to begin exploring the Wesleyan curriculum through WesMaps, Wesleyan’s online curriculum, and Wesvising, as a course selection advising tool. It is a site developed by faculty members in the different departments, programs, and colleges to inform incoming students about their disciplines and the courses they offer. Most departments have videos and all departments have helpful FAQs to guide you as you develop your plan of study.
Like most students, you will end up with way too many courses on your planning list, but keep them in mind in case your plans change or you want to take them another semester.
The key word is EXPLORE, as Professor Szegedy-Maszak advises, so take advantage of this time and Wesvising to do so!
EXPLORE Your Interests and the Wesleyan Curriculum!
Professor Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Professor of Classical Studies, Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, urges first-year students to extend themselves beyond the typical high school subjects:
Now that you are starting to think about the courses you would like to take, you should remember a couple of things. This will be your first semester at Wesleyan, and so if you know that you will want to take advanced courses in some field, this would be a good time to take at least one of the introductory-level classes that are prerequisites for further study. They are identified for you in WesMaps. As a corollary to that first piece of advice, you should also take advantage of Wesleyan’s open curriculum to explore subjects that you’re not already familiar with. We have an extraordinarily rich offering of courses across the disciplines.
You should also keep in mind the General Education Expectations, that encourage you to take courses in all three of our academic “divisions” – Humanities and Arts (HA), Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), and Natural Sciences and Math (NSM). Most course listings in WesMaps have a divisional identification. Go outside your comfort zone, take a chance, and – like many students before you – you may find that you are captivated by a field of study that is new to you. An excellent way to do the exploration is by enrolling in one of our First Year Seminars. They are specifically designed for new students and emphasize writing and class discussion and careful analysis. These are skills that you will use not only throughout your time at the University, but also after you graduate. Finally, allow yourself some flexibility, and leave some options open. Once you have made your selections, they are not final until you have met with your faculty advisor, shortly after you arrive on campus. At that point you might decide to revise your plan, and that’s fine. Think of this process as your introduction to a first-rate liberal arts curriculum, which necessarily combines structure and experimentation. Enjoy!
On July 10 at 9 a.m., course pre-registration for the Fall semester will open! Woo hoo!
There will be a pre-reg link in the alert box of your Wesportal. The upper frame will open in WesMaps, the online curriculum, and the bottom frame will be where you will rank a list of seven first-year seminars and seven intro/other courses.
Students enrolled in a Learning and Living seminar already have their FYS and will see it in their course schedule. They will need to rank only their intro/other courses.
Posts that follow on the class blog, thoughout July, will include lots of tips and advice about course registration, balancing a schedule, advising guides, and advising tools. Many of these aids are listed in the Academic Resource bucket of the Orientation Checklist. For additional information and advice, you can contact an academic peer advisor or Dean Brown or another class dean, each of whom will assist you or connect you with a faculty member. There are plenty of resources for you as you build your course plan for the fall semester. Take advantage of them!
Catch a Learning & Living Seminar–ENGL150-02, PHIL281-01, RELI230-01–by applying before Thursday, June 29 at 5 p.m. These are three of the many First Year Seminars offered, but these are the only three where classmates will be housed in the same residential hall. The living proximity provides the opportunity for greater intellectual community and collaboration outside the classroom, which in turn adds greater depth to the discussions in the classroom and an enriched experience overall.
Enrolling in a L&L seminar is neither an advantage or disadvantage in terms of res hall assignments. L&L students will learn their housing assignments at the same time all other students do.
The L&L instructors are enthusiastic about the collaborative assignments they have designed and look forward to working with the course members outside the classroom as well as within. This is a great opportunity to work more closely with one of Wesleyan’s excellent faculty members.
Check out the entire list of FYS to make sure that you are solidly in for an L&L seminar, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Dean Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-685-2758.
First-year seminars are writing intensive courses that introduce students to a variety of topics ranging from Greek myth to neuroscience. Some treat a specific religion (e.g., Islam or Buddhism); others provide a sweeping introduction into an interdisciplinary area of study that may be new to first-year students (e.g., science in society). All of these seminars, however, emphasize the importance of writing at the university level. Students in first-year seminars become familiar with the methods used to collect, interpret, analyze, and present evidence as part of a scholarly argument. Faculty teaching these classes also highlight the type of writing associated with their respective disciplines, and help students develop, compose, organize, and revise their writing. All first-year seminars have assignments totaling at least 20 pages, and feature oral or written feedback on student writing; many also employ peer-mentoring and writing tutors. First-year seminars are limited to 15 students. Click here for a complete list.