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Weed Out Classes

joeahnjoeahn Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
edited May 2013 in Duke University
Could anyone at Duke tell me what courses are considered weed out classes at Duke? I'll be taking a lot of intro courses so I'm a little nervous
Post edited by joeahn on

Replies to: Weed Out Classes

  • TopTierTopTier Registered User Posts: 2,766 Senior Member
    The concise answer is none. Duke, as you are aware, is extremely selective. Therefore, there is no systematic approach to "weed down" the incoming undergraduate class. This does not suggest that various classes are not difficult, nor that some fields-of-study (pre-med is a good example) do not experience attrition. However, unlike many less selective universities, 95+ percent of each year's freshmen graduate.
  • SBRSBR Registered User Posts: 2,780 Senior Member
    TopTier, I think you misunderstood. joeahn isn't asking for courses that thin out the overall undergraduate class, he's asking for courses essential to certain majors/tracks whose curve/difficulty causes many students to drop those majors/tracks, thus thinning out the ranks of students in a particular department or program.

    A good example would be EGR53 or Math 103 causing many people to realize they don't like engineering and transfer to Trinity, thus "weeding out" the engineering class. Another would be orgo, a required premed class, which causes many to drop premed.

    Those weeded out students still graduate from Duke but just not with the major or track that they started out in or came in wanting to do.
  • TopTierTopTier Registered User Posts: 2,766 Senior Member
    SBR - I understand your point and I agree with your post, however, I see nothing in joeahn's post to suggest that either of our interpretation is per se incorrect.
  • SBRSBR Registered User Posts: 2,780 Senior Member
    TopTier: I wouldn't say that, not trying to argue with you, but I've never heard of anyone at Duke or elsewhere use "weed out class" to refer to anything that suggests the purpose as forcing students to drop out of school altogether and as a premed, I can assure you, we talked about this stuff ad nauseam. Maybe at ETH or some other school in Europe but that's a whole different education model altogether.
  • blueWednesdayblueWednesday Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    Some people say econ is a weed out class, but it's not supposed to weed you out of Duke! Tons of people come here saying they want to do econ so it's more meant to get rid of people who aren't fully committed to the rigor of the program and choose other majors.
  • splashdown94splashdown94 Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    A lot of intro courses are supposed to be "weed outs." Econ 101 is definitely a weed out. I've heard Intro to Pub Pol and Math 111/112 (Calc 2) are as well. Orgo 1 is also a weed out course.
  • SBRSBR Registered User Posts: 2,780 Senior Member
    EGR53 is a weedout, not because it's hard but because it's a matlab programming class and very different from what a lot of people have been exposed to before.

    Orgo is a weedout class as is general chemistry to a lesser extent. The accelerated honors gen chem is definitely a weedout.

    The lab calc I/II and math 103 (multivariable) are weedouts.

    Heard Econ 51 (the intro econ) is a weedout
  • TopTierTopTier Registered User Posts: 2,766 Senior Member
    SBR: At many large, public universities "weed out classes" are/were quite common and specifically designed to drop a large percentage of freshman early in their undergarduate program. For example, a few decades ago, universities like Ohio State had an introductory and mandatory English Composition course that was failed by approximately a third of the students, who were immediately disenrolled.
  • SBRSBR Registered User Posts: 2,780 Senior Member
    TopTier, that's fine, but this is the Duke subforum where the question was asked and we must read in context. At Duke, weedout classes do not mean what they meant a few decades ago at large state universities like Ohio State. Just like the boot means the trunk in England. If I ask to put my stuff in the boot in London I don't expect to be shown a shoe and vice versa I would never ask that in New York.

    But we are getting off topic here, sorry OP.
  • TopTierTopTier Registered User Posts: 2,766 Senior Member
    SBR: Gald to see you are interested in broadening your background through legitimate historical information.
  • DukeDoc99DukeDoc99 Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Ow! EGR 103 (the old 53) is certainly not intended to weed anyone out of anything :)
  • SBRSBR Registered User Posts: 2,780 Senior Member
    I agree EGR103 is not intended as a weedout class and I do not mean to imply that it is made unnecessarily difficult to make it so.

    However, it is the first class that engineers take and because of the subject matter, a highly technical introduction to computer science and engineering. For many students, this may be their first exposure to "engineering" classes beyond the standard math and basic sciences. And sad to say, some find that their first impression of engineering isn't what they imagined "engineering" to be and thus decide to transfer to Trinity. In this way, EGR103 does have the unintended effect of serving as a "weedout" class for Pratt.
  • madeofradiummadeofradium Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    SBR: are these courses considered "weed out" solely on the criteria of having difficult material/higher fail rates or are there other factors at play? Would going to office hours or getting help comprehending the material be useful or are these classes designed to not even offer help to those who seek it?
  • SBRSBR Registered User Posts: 2,780 Senior Member
    All professors teaching classes are expected to offer office hours or assign their TAs to conduct them on their behalf. Help is always available at Duke if students need it.

    But as I alluded to before, while a "weed out" class is often challenging, it isn't always the case. Some "weed out" courses merely present new material which leads some students to decide that a course of study isn't for them. After all, it is always good to get an idea early on of whether or not you actually like economics/engineering/math/the sciences, etc.
  • madeofradiummadeofradium Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    Thanks for the info, SBR!

    Also, I think every college student should be obligated to know your definition of "weed out class." Too many kids go in with the impression that these classes are designed to gut people from the track when all they actually do is test commitment through new material and challenges.
This discussion has been closed.