Concentration Declaration

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The Leverett House deadline for declaring concentrations is November 25 2008. Below, carefully check the 4 things that need to be done for this. If you anticipate missing the Leverett deadline for valid reasons, please be in touch with your sophomore adviser immediately.

Things to note:

  • Some Houses set internal deadlines, esp. if Plans of Study are being collected in House Offices (as we do in Leverett, so copies can be made and passed on to Registrar's automatically).
  • Also, concentration/ sophomore advisers may themselves be over-committed, making last-minute meetings impossible in some cases.
  • Finally, some concentrations need applications/petitions, e.g. Social Studies; Lit; VES; Hist & Lit; ESPP; WGS, etc (requirements/deadlines for some of these have very recently changed, just fyi).

So plan ahead.

If you are clear about your concentration decision, the process is fairly straightforward. If still undecided, check below for some strategies to help you make a thoughtful concentration decision. As always, you can e-mail or meet me with any questions or concerns. Bilal [Lev Advising Coordinator]


Step 1: Form:

Use the electronically fillable Plan of Study (available here under 'Announcements') to select a concentration, along with courses, electives, and cores (carefully check here for your Core requirements/ exemptions, based on your concentration). Note: This is a tentative plan; while it is mandatory to declare your concentration now, students change their specific course selections later. Some students are also able to change their concentration selection (if possible of course, given requirements of the concentration they later want to switch to).

Step 2: Concentration Adviser Signature:

Find out who in your concentration will sign Plans of Study for sophomores (e.g. by e-mailing a concentration adviser or the Director of Undergraduate Studies; their e-mails here); set up an appointment and review your concentration courses with him/her and get his/her signature.

Step 3: Sophomore Adviser Signature:

Set up an appointment with your sophomore adviser, review your Core selections, discuss other things on your mind, and get him/her to sign your form. Note: Your Sophomore Adviser cannot sign your Plan of Study unless it has already been signed by the concentration adviser.

Step 4: Submission:

Submit the Plan of Study to the Resident Dean's Office (first floor of F tower, on the right just as you enter the building) by Nov 25. Note: The House Office will make copies of your Plan of Study, and automatically forward to the Registrar's, so you don't have to go there yourself. Note: If you anticipate missing the Leverett deadline for valid reasons, please be in touch with your sophomore adviser immediately.

Strategies for making a Concentration Decision

Many students have mentioned that they found these strategies very useful. Its not an exhaustive list -- pick one/s that suit you or consider other strategies.

A) Sophomore Adviser meeting: have an initial meeting with your sophomore adviser to discuss any lingering concerns/confusions and strategies for addressing them.

B) Concentration Open Houses/Panels: Email directors of undergraduate study or advisers within concentrations (their addresses here) to find out if your concentration/s of interest are having panels/ Open Houses, etc

C) Multiple Plans of Study/ Concentration worksheets: fill and compare more than one Plan of Study (available here, under 'Announcements'), to get a feel for what your 4 years would concretely feel like within different concentrations, or with different configurations of courses. Also, some concentrations have provided worksheets for prospective concentrators (available here). Filling multiple versions within the same concentration can help compare 'routes' in the same concentration, and filling worksheets for more than one concentration can help in comparing different concentrations. Note: take Plans of Study/ Concentration Worksheets to advising conversations/ meetings with people.

D) Other conversations: Talking to seniors, concentration advisers, other tutors (e.g. pre-professional tutors), professors, peers about what you enjoy studying (subject matter/ assignments/ tasks), what you are good at, tentative career/extra-curricular interests, etc and how all these can help narrow down to a concentration. Note: introspection is key (i.e. dwelling on what subject-matter you have enjoyed studying or types of assignments/ work you have found fulfilling in the past). Also, as often as not, these conversations help dispel myths about assumed linkages between careers and concentrations (economics=business or government=law, etc), myths that lead to numerous sub-optimal concentration decisions every year (talk to pre-professional tutors or professionals in your career path, rather than assuming anything).

E) Hedging course selections: If still undecided, you can consider selecting courses for sophomore spring that allow a later switch to another concentration you may be considering. Also, you can consider selecting Cores that will not become exempt in case you end up switching to your 'back-up' concentration/s (unless, of course, you really like a specific Core course and would take it even if it eventually counts as an elective)

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