So what is Advanced-Entry Seminar, aside from a great way to make friends and get to know what it means to ‘Be Southwestern’? This class, which is only half the semester, offers a super-comprehensive understanding of what you should expect in you academic career at SU, and how to manage it.
Southwestern University, as you probably already know, has pretty high academic standards; most every student here is committed to their education with a genuine desire to be the best at what they do and study. AES courses are designed to help you transition from a non-academic or less rigorous academic life to the sometimes intense learning expectations here.
I don’t mean to make it sound like SU’s all work, but it’s certainly not all fun and games—this is why AES is your first class! You’ll probably given something to read before your first class, and have to write an essay about that reading. Now, the first essay serves two purposes: to give your professor and idea of the sort of writing you’re used to doing, and to make sure you’re ready to jump into a discussion right away.
A lot of the AES time and many of your other classes are going to be discussion-based; professors expect you to know the material well enough to ask questions and present the themes and theories presented in your readings. This is why AES works so often in groups—you get to read and edit other students’ papers, and they’ll read yours. The feedback, both from professors and peers is great because you get a feel for what your strengths are and see examples of where you may want to work harder.
Another big part of AES is the people who will come to visit and the places your class will visit. Generally, the visitors are coming to provide you with opportunities to learn more about campus resources without having to go to their offices. You’ll learn about Career Services and Civic Engagement, and have a chance to ask questions on the spot.
Visiting the library, though, was the best part of AES for me; it’s one of the better libraries that I’ve been in, especially for a university the size of Southwestern. The tour includes a class on researching, which is way more interesting than it sounds, but you’ll get to go through Special Collections. They have illuminated manuscripts and issues of Vogue from its beginnings, which you can browse any time it’s open—a great way to get away from all the class assignments for a while!
So, next time I’ll discuss something a little more interesting than classes: student organizations. There’s a group for every interest here, and if you can’t find one, you can make it! That’s what I did, and I’ll go into more details about that process, joining, and getting in the Greeks in the next update. If you’re thinking that Southwestern might be the university for you already, I’m sure knowing more about all the really fun (and not study-related) stuff will be the motivation you need to apply!