First Year Programs: Explorations & Perspectives FAQ's

Background Information

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 interpersonal skills
  • an experience recognized as distinctive by grad schools and employers

B. What are the similarities between the two programs?

  1. Both offer full-credit, semester-long seminars team-taught by pairs of upper-level leaders for 12-14 entering students.
  2. Both combine academics and advising.
  3. Both emphasize participatory teaching and learning and community building.
  4. Both get students in the library to help them learn how to do research.

C. What are the differences between them?

  1. 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?

  1. Topics range across a very broad spectrum of areas of interest, for example...
    1. technological and medical concerns,
    2. literary, historical, and religious issues,
    3. media and popular culture,
    4. politics, ethics, and social problems.
  2. All past Explorations syllabi are available for you to use as references.

The Application Process

A. Frequently asked questions

  1. Who can apply?
    Any sophomore or junior in good academic standing with a minimum 3.2 GPA.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. How much credit do I get for teaching?
    One and one-half credits for teaching and taking a special leaders' seminar.
  5. How many other courses can I take next fall?
    No more than three other courses, without express permission of the Ex College.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Do I need to find a faculty member with whom to work?
    A faculty adviser will be assigned.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

95 Talbot Ave., Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155  | Tel: 617-627-3384  | Fax: 617-627-3449  |  Email