To the Members of the Middlebury Class of 2017—

When we, your Commons Heads, last wrote, we introduced you to the Common Reading program and described our aspirations for the intellectual community you are about to join.  We write again today because you have just learned which first-year seminar you will be taking in the fall.  With that information now in your hands, we would like to share with you some thoughts about Middlebury’s curriculum and what you can 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.  We encourage to you take advantage of this freedom, and to exercise it responsibly.  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 recommend that you begin thinking this summer about how you can best take advantage of Middlebury’s curriculum. To guide you in this process, we encourage you to visit this pre-advising website intended for first-year students, http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/resources/advising/first. Please review these materials between now and Orientation, to familiarize yourself with Middlebury’s curriculum, learn about the exciting courses our faculty offer, and understand how you will select and register for courses. As questions come to mind, jot 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 the fall!

From your Commons Heads:

Peter & Michelle Nelson, Atwater Commons
Roman Graf, Brainerd Commons
Patricia Zupan, Cook Commons
Pavlos Sfyroeras & Maria Hatjigeorgiou, Ross Commons
Jonathan Miller-Lane, Wonnacott Commons