First Year Programs:
Explorations & Perspectives FAQ's
A. Why does the Ex College have these programs?
To provide entering students with...
- instant community & long-term support
- an introduction to critical thinking
- solid advising
To provide upper-level students with...
- a chance to refine their organizational analytical, and
- an experience recognized as distinctive by grad schools and
B. What are the similarities between the two programs?
- Both offer full-credit, semester-long seminars team-taught
by pairs of upper-level leaders for 12-14 entering students.
- Both combine academics and advising.
- Both emphasize participatory teaching and learning and
- Both get students in the library to help them learn how to
C. What are the differences between them?
- In Explorations, leaders select a topic about which they
feel passionate or have an expertise and create a 13-week
syllabus. In Perspectives, all the groups work with a shared
topic area, the “Movies” as Business, Art, and Culture. The
leaders do decide, however, on the approaches they will use.
D. What are typical topics for Explorations seminars?
- Topics range across a very broad spectrum of areas of
interest, for example...
- technological and medical concerns,
- literary, historical, and religious issues,
- media and popular culture,
- politics, ethics, and social problems.
- All past Explorations syllabi are available for you to use
The Application Process
A. Frequently asked questions
- Who can apply?
Any sophomore or junior in good academic standing with a minimum
- Can I lead a first-year seminar and be an RA, a Wilderness Trip
Leader, or take part in the Focus program?
No. The conflicts during training in August are just too great.
- How will next year's leaders be chosen?
Contrary to popular opinion, this is not a competition. The
choice of leaders is principally a self-selection process.
- How much credit do I get for teaching?
One and one-half credits for teaching and taking a special
- How many other courses can I take next fall?
No more than three other courses, without express permission of
the Ex College.
- Can teaching a first-year seminar count toward anything else?
Because it is graded pass/fail, it cannot count for any
foundation, distribution, or major credit.
- Do I need to find a partner to work with?
Yes for both programs. Note: with Perspectives we have very good
luck matching people who don’t have a partner.
- Do I need to find a faculty member with whom to work?
faculty adviser will be assigned.
- Can I apply from overseas?
Yes. The increase of access to e-mail, the Web, and fax machines
has made it possible to complete either an Exploration or
Perspectives application from overseas.
- When will applications be due?
Applications are usually due in mid March every year. For
specific dates, please see below for contact information.
B. For More Information