Things you can Do at Academic Forum

ALL ENTERING STUDENTS SHOULD GO TO ACADEMIC FORUM.  This event is a gathering, for your benefit, of representatives from the various departments and programs at the College.  It always happens during orientation.  In the Fall, it usually happens on the same day as the first meetings of the First Year Seminars, just prior to advisees' individual meetings with their advisors.  

Academic Forum is your opportunity to ask specific questions about particular courses, majors, and programs of study, and to introduce yourself to faculty members in various departments.  Because of the size and diversity of Middlebury's offerings, no single person can answer all such questions.  That includes your First Year Seminar advisor.  Get advice from your advisor about what information to get, and about decisions once you have gathered the information you need.  Go to academic forum for the information itself.  At academic Forum, the departmental representatives from throughout the College gather in one place to give you the information you need.

Here's what you can do at Academic Forum:

1)    FIND OUT ABOUT PARTICULAR COURSES

  • Tell me more about the subject matter of this course.  How is it different from that course?
  • Are there exams?  How much writing is there? Is there frequent homework?  What are the expectations for that class? 
  • I see that this course has 7 seats open.  Do you think it’s likely to fill? If it does fill, what might I take instead? 

2)    FIND OUT ABOUT PLACEMENT

  • What is policy of a department or program on placement?
  • Can you decide, on the spot, whether I am qualified to take this course?

3)    BEGIN EXPLORING AREAS OF STUDY YOU HAVEN’T (OR HAVE) CONSIDERED BEFORE

  • My high school didn’t have a philosophy department.  What does the study of philosophy involve? Do I have to have a religion to study Religion?
  • What exactly is involved in a major in International and Global Studies with a regional track in Latin American studies?  With whom should I talk about it to find out how I might get started on it in my first year?

4)    GET TO KNOW DEPARTMENTS AND THEIR FACULTY MEMBERS, AND EVEN MAKE REQUESTS OR SUGGESTIONS.

  • What are the strengths of your department?  What aspects of economics do you emphasize?
  • What’s the best way to get to know people in your Department?
  • What area of Political Science do you study, and how did you get interested in it?
  • I’m particularly interested in the study of Native American Literature.  I don’t see any courses on that.  Do you anticipate having any?  Is there something I’m missing in the catalogue?
  • With whom should I speak in your Department if I’m interested in the American Civil War?

5)    ASK PRACTICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COURSES OF STUDY AND CAREER PATHS THAT MIGHT COME FROM THEM

  • If I want to be a veterinarian, what courses should I take right now?  Does it make a difference whether I take Chemistry or Biology?  How much math do I need? (questions for the pre-health professions advisor).
  • I know it’s often advisable to take two lab courses at once, but I’m a bit nervous about it. What are the advantages?  What are the challenges? What would be the effect on my current plans of taking only one?
  • If I want to go abroad in my junior year, or if I am pre-med, should I take this introductory course now, or can I wait a semester?
  • Suppose I want to major in Arabic, but I can’t get into a class this semester.  What should I do?
  • What can you do with a major in Classics? in International Politics and Economics?  In English and American Literatures?  In Dance? In Environmental Studies?