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Number of Seniors In Gen Ed Doubles

By Rebecca D. Robbins, Crimson Staff Writer

The proportion of seniors completing the General Education program has doubled from 10 to 20 percent since the start of the academic year, according to the Gen Ed office.

Seniors and juniors have had the option to switch out of the old Core program ever since the new Gen Ed program was introduced in Fall 2009, according to Associate Director of the Program in General Education Anne Marie E. Calareso.

“I don’t think it is surprising,” wrote Calareso in an e-mailed statement. “The Gen Ed committee worked to ensure that students who entered under the Core would have added flexibility in completing their requirements.”

Director of the Program in General Education Stephanie H. Kenen said the Gen Ed committee gave a Core designation to every course that was approved as a Gen Ed in order to give students options in deciding which program to complete.

“We made a deliberate attempt to make it easy for them to switch if they want, and have access to all [the Gen Ed] courses,” she said.

To switch programs, seniors and juniors must obtain the signature of their resident deans and propose a plan for how they intend to complete their remaining requirements. This paperwork is submitted using the Student Planning Portal.

Helen E. Bradshaw ’11, who switched to Gen Ed last year, said she thinks that Gen Ed requirements are more convenient for most seniors.

“I think a lot of people have switched over because requirements are easier to meet and more straightforward,” she said. “It’s easier than figuring out what’s exempt and what’s not exempt.”

Calareso added that some students have even switched programs when it did not reduce the number of courses they were required to take.

“I’ve definitely talked to students who have three Cores left to do and four Gen Eds, who switched to Gen Ed because the four Gen Eds they have left to do are more interesting to them than the three Cores they have to do,” Calareso said.

Brandon T. Perkovich ’11 said he was partially motivated to switch programs because he liked the philosophy of the Gen Ed program.

“It made this explicit push to find connections between the work you’re doing inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “That was the most meaningful change to me.”

On the other hand, Pelin Kivrak ’11 said she stayed in the Core program because she had already taken six Core courses by the time Gen Ed was instituted.

She added that she does not regret her decision to stay in the Core.

“I’m very satisfied with the Core program,” she said. “It’s my personality, I think. I don’t like switching in the middle of things.”

Sean K. Gil ’11 said he stayed in the Core program because he had planned out his courses in advance, but added that he wished he could have completed Gen Ed from the start.

“I do wish it had arrived sooner, at least relative to my education,” he said.

—Staff writer Rebecca D. Robbins can be reached at rrobbins@college.harvard.edu.

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