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The more support Harvard can give to its often clueless first-years, the better. We are pleased with plans from the Freshman Dean's Office (FDO) to increase the amount of information available about departments before first-years must choose a concentration spring semester.
Soon, departments will offer special office hours for prospective concentrators as well as table in Annenberg Hall. Already, first-years can seek out information on the Web.
We encourage departments to go a step further and have current concentrators answer first-years' questions at office hours, since students can give the real low-down on concentrations, such as whether the requirements are too onerous or the course offerings too slim.
All too often, first-years choose a concentration because they do not think they have any other choice. We support the changes already in place for this year and heartily laud the FDO's decision to provide the Class of 2001 with departmental recommendations for first year courses. That will give incoming students confidence and a sense of direction.
Anything the College can do to make the first year easier is a step in the right direction, and we hope these are the first of many such changes.
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