Daily Archives: March 3, 2012

Are there any classes at Skidmore that you are required to take?

What a fantastic question. I will itemize these requirements for you and then tell you what courses I took to fulfill them:

1) Scribner Seminar. This is easy to fulfill because everyone has to take one in their first semester at Skid. One of the first things you do once you get into Skidmore is pick your top ten Scribner Sem choices (they’ll hook you up with one of your top three, for sure.) My Scribner Seminar was called Word & Image, with French/International Relations professor Marc-André Wiesmann. We read the Aeneid and lots of French short stories about crazy painters. We went really in-depth on the definitions of words like "impression" and "mimesis." It was a little bit of everything, with lots of word/image interaction. I loved it. We’re having a reunion soon.

2) Quantitative Reasoning 1 and 2. QR1 can be passed by either getting a 630 on the SAT (or a 570 on the math SAT II, or a 28 on the math section of the ACT), or by taking the QR1 test at the beginning of freshman year. (You have to do it by the end of junior year, I believe). Then QR2 has to happen in a course that involves math, like physics or accounting or, y’know, calculus. I fulfilled my QR2 with Macroeconomics. Lots of cost-benefit analysis graphs. Let me be the first to say that the math requirement is not as intimidating as it sounds; I am the true opposite of a math person and I survived.

3) Expository Writing. I took EN 110, Intro to Literary Studies, because that was recommended to me based on my SAT scores. You can also take EN 103 or EN 105 depending on your level. Essay-writing — essential!

4) Arts. Generally, this means dance, music, theater, creative writing, or studio art. I did creative writing. I’m on my fourth writing workshop now. But I’m also taking dance this semester, which is GREAT. I’m a huge fan of the art requirement because it requires either a deeper focus on doing something you already love or having to try something uncomfortable and new. Both are great for one’s academic (and personal) growth.

5) Humanities. The most vague of requirements. Lots of classes fulfill the humanities requirement. I assume I got mine from an English class.

6) Natural Sciences. Aahh! I took Neuroscience. You can take biology, chemistry, physics, oceanography, anything they teach in Dana Science Center. I really loved Neuro and recommend it for anyone who likes interdisciplinary things. (Neuro combines biology, chemistry, psychology, and more. It’s a scientific smörgåsbord.) Our lab was great; we got to strap electrodes to our heads to measure our brain waves, and once day we dissected a sheep’s brain. It smelled SO BAD.

7) Social Sciences. This is American studies, sociology, anthropology, government, history, et cetera. Lucky for me, Economics was both a QR2 and a social sciences course. Lots of courses actually serves as double requirements, which is really useful. My post-Civil War American history class was probably a social science too.

8) Foreign Language. Yup, Skidmore wants us to attempt to be bilingual. My French classes counted, obviously, but I also took Arabic my sophomore year through Skidmore’s self-instructional language program. They offer Korean, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi and Portuguese too. Also, you can take Latin and Greek through the Classics department.

9) Non-Western/Cultural Diversity. Very necessary in an academic program, if you ask me. This can be fulfilled in almost every department: classical Indian dance, non-Western religions, African-American literature, Latin American history, Caribbean politics. I’ve taken a few classes that have fulfilled it, African-American novels and modern Japanese lit in translation among them.

If it seems like a lot, it’s not. I didn’t stress too much about fulfilling my requirements, and even the ones that were not up my alley, like QR2 and science, actually pushed me to explore new departments and step out of my comfort zone. Thanks again for your question!

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