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Greetings to the Class of 2018

Dear Members of the Class of 2018,

I am the Dean of Freshmen at Vassar, the academic advisor to the incoming first-year class. Every incoming freshman is assigned a faculty member as a pre-major advisor, but I am also available during your freshman year to answer questions about your transition to Vassar, your academic program and your progress in classes. I am also a professor in the English Department, where I teach courses in nineteenth-century British literature and culture. So if you have any burning questions about Jane Austen, or Charles Dickens, send them my way.

Looking over your recent posts, I see that many of you have turned your attention to pre-registering for classes. All the information you need to pre-register is available in the Freshman Handbook, so please read it carefully before making your course selections. For those electing sciences and languages, it's important to place yourself in the right level course. A few departments--such as French and Francophone Studies and Physics--have online placement exams available on their department websites. Biology, Chemistry, Math and foreign languages ask you to place yourself in courses depending on either your AP exam scores, or the nature of your high school experience. Do your best right now, and you can make adjustments during New Student Orientation. The New Student Orientation schedule is available online at the Dean of Freshmen website.

In addition, while selecting your fall courses, please keep in mind that you are students at a liberal arts college. By the time you graduate, Vassar expects you to gain depth in one or two areas (your major areas of concentration). However, the College also expects you to shape a program that is broad and encompasses courses from across the curricular divisions (Arts, Languages, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences) and in the multidisciplinary programs. When choosing courses for this fall, you want to elect a course or two in departments or programs that might be potential majors, but you should also be seeking out new disciplines and new areas of knowledge. Your vocation in life might be as an art historian, or an anthropologist, but you will never find out if you limit yourself to the disciplines you were exposed to in high school.

Finally, the Fun Home Moodle is up and running. You can access it from the Congrats2018 website with your email name and password. There are already several insightful posts, so check them out as well as Professor Antelyes's introductory video. More videos and prompts will be added. I'll keep you posted.

My best,

Susan Zlotnick
Dean of Freshmen and Professor of English