To the Members of the Middlebury Class of 2018,
We, your Commons Heads, write today because you have just received information about selecting your first-year seminar. With that information now in your hands, we would like to share with you some thoughts about Middlebury’s curriculum and what you should do to prepare yourself for the decisions you will need to make about courses in September.
Middlebury’s liberal arts curriculum will challenge you for the rest of your life. As our mission statement indicates, we strive to engage students’ capacity for rigorous analysis and independent thought across a wide range of disciplines and endeavors, and to cultivate the qualities essential for leadership in a rapidly changing world. By exploring the curriculum widely while also pursuing intensive study in a particular major, you will receive an education distinguished by intellectual breadth and depth.
As you will discover, Middlebury has a number of curricular requirements intended to insure that you receive an education that is both broad and deep. Still, you will have a great deal of freedom to follow your own academic path. You should take advantage of this freedom and responsibly exercise it. Your first-year seminar advisor, and later your major advisor, will guide you with knowledge and compassion, but it is ultimately up to you to decide how you will derive the greatest value from your liberal arts education and to think strategically about how you will address your own interests, strengths, and academic goals.
To prepare you for having meaningful conversations with your first-year seminar advisor when you arrive on campus, we expect that you will begin thinking now about how you can best take advantage of Middlebury’s curriculum. To guide you in this process, we have created a pre-advising website, specifically crafted for incoming first-year students:
Please review these materials between now and when you arrive on campus. Your academic advisor, whom you will meet during MiddView, will expect you to have familiarized yourself with the logic of Middlebury’s curriculum, the exciting courses our faculty offer, and the process for selecting and registering for courses. Please be prepared for your meeting with your academic advisor, noting a wide variety of courses you wish to consider for your fall schedule and any questions that you may have. If you have concerns, know that your advisor will be ready to address them during MiddView. They are eager to provide clarity and guidance for you, but only you can make the most of your Middlebury education. As questions come to mind, write them down and bring them with you to your first meeting with your advisor.
Once again, we wish you a good summer and look forward to meeting you in September!
From Your Commons Heads,
Peter & Michelle Nelson, Atwater Commons
Stefano Mula, Brainerd Commons
Matthew Dickerson, Cook Commons
Pavlos Sfyroeras & Maria Hatjigeorgiou, Ross Commons
Jonathan Miller-Lane, Wonnacott Commons