Getting Settled in Part 2: Your First Class


So, if you’ve read the Guest Blogs, you have some idea of how great Advanced-Entry Seminar can be when you’re joining the Southwestern community. Your classmates will all be transfer students, so you’ll probably have some things in common., and many students remain friends with their Seminar peers for the rest of their time at SU.

The classes are a mix of ages and backgrounds–I’m an ex-professional from NYC majoring in philosophy, and I did group work with a pianist from China, a set designer, an actor, a history buff, and a math wiz. The youngest was 19 and the oldest was in their mid-30’s.  Needless to say, it was an interesting group, and we enjoyed working together. My Seminar was “Gender Myths”, and we studied a lot of ancient Indian and Greek myths and culture.
Sometimes we’d have to put class on hold when the dogs from the seminar next door came in to say hi!

My first thought, though, when I was asked over the summer to choose a course topic, was, “what is this random class, and why do I have to take it” I wanna study Philosophy!? That?s a pretty reasonable response, but there’s also a reasonable answer.  AES immerses you in the SU academic and social community with purpose. It’s the place were you get answers to all the questions that you may have about campus life and academic expectations.

Southwestern University is different from most other schools. For instance, we don’t have a graduate program, and we have an honor pledge that’s been around for more than 100 years: I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work and am unaware of anyone who has not. This pledge is an agreement between you, your professors, and your peers to ‘Be Southwestern’ with every endeavor you take on. Each student here writes and signs this pledge at the end of all assignments, and eventually it becomes second nature. You’ll carry the commitment far beyond your time with SU.

The reason for both of these aspects of SU, which AES is structured to make new students realize, is that Southwestern students are in a program meant to develop integrity and focus, and this is reflected in our reputation. In AES you’re going to learn that SU doesn’t have a graduate program because the focus is on your education; SU is a campus that allows you to enter grad school with an understanding of the expectations and the confidence to face them. Our professors have chosen to offer their full attention to your undergraduate education to this end.

Next time, I’ll go more into detail about the sorts of things we did in AES, like visiting the library and getting to know the other departments. Our discussions were by far the best aspect for me because, just in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I really like to talk!

Just one last thing, though! If you have any questions about campus or academic life, please get in touch with me, someone in the department you’re interested in, or Gail Roberson at

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