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So How's That Open Curriculum going ...


Replies to: So How's That Open Curriculum going ...

  • flufflyoneflufflyone 16 replies0 threads New Member
    I remember reading post from "interesteddad" before. You seem to really have an ax to grind with Amherst. What's up with that?
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  • CorbettCorbett 3434 replies4 threads Senior Member
    There are other factors contributing to why Amherst does not graduate more students with science majors; it is not the curriculum.
    OK, I'm open-minded. What are those "other factors" that you refer to ?

    Most people would regard (for example) Amherst and Williams as rather similar schools in most respects -- apart, of course, from the difference in curricular requirements. Yet it seems undeniable that Amherst students are much less likely to major in math or science than Williams students. If this has nothing to do with the difference in curricular requirements, then what other factors are responsible ?
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  • CorbettCorbett 3434 replies4 threads Senior Member
    Corbett should sample a bit more broadly before generating a set of hypotheses
    Perhaps you missed it, as this is a rather long thread, but I explicitly acknowledged Grinnell as an open-curriculum school with a lot of science/math majors back in Post #41 above. I also acknowledged that some distribution-requirement schools (like Middlebury) don't have a lot of science/math majors either.

    One obvious difference between Grinnell and Amherst (and this was also discussed above) is that Grinnell doesn't have the same kind of competition. Realistically, if you want to attend a top LAC in the Midwestern US, then you are going to apply to Grinnell -- regardless of whether or not you value the open curriculum. In the Northeastern US, the situation is different: there are a lot of options, and so people who particularly value the open curriculum can zero in on those schools (like Amherst) that offer it. The open curriculum is a defining characteristic of Amherst to a greater extent than it is at Grinnell.
    The open curriculum works for everyone.
    I'm absolutely sure there are people who like the open curriculum because they can blow off English or foreign languages or whatever. And if all subjects were equally disliked, then an open curriculum wouldn't make any net difference to overall departmental enrollments.

    But if certain subjects are disliked more than others, then it could.
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  • mythmommythmom 8292 replies13 threads Senior Member
    My S specifically avoided Brown because he thought he needed more structure. He did apply to Amherst thinking the more intense advising would help, but her preferred Williams.

    He has enjoyed many of the classes he took to satisfy distribution requirement. I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't have taken astronomy any other way.

    I have no axe to grind; I can see merits of both. For myself, the two most important classes I took were to satisfy distribution requirements: Genetics. I had no idea of how much I would need this information in my Humanities career.
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  • KeilexandraKeilexandra 5360 replies132 threads Senior Member
    A possible note of interest regarding Middlebury's distribution requirements--you are required to complete a course in 7 of 8 areas. This appeals greatly to students like me who want to study the humanities/social science/interdisciplinary sciences (CS, enviro) broadly but avoid lab science. So with regard to science-hating hum students, Midd may be closer on the spectrum to an open curriculum than to strict distribution requirements.
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