Top Ten Reasons to Take a Freshman Seminar

Tags: AB academics BSE courses curriculum

If there’s one course everyone should take in their first year at Princeton, it’s a Freshman Seminar! Here are my Top Ten Reasons to take one:

  1. Explore a topic in depth, and test the intellectual waters (or try something new in a supportive environment… Motorcycle Design, anyone? or Ethics in Finance? or Drug Discovery: From Snake Venoms to Medicines?
  2. Enjoy the small class size, limited to 15 students
  3. Benefit from regular close contact with a professor who enjoys working with freshmen
  4. Develop a relationship with a renowned expert in the field
  5. Spend time with other first-years who are all—like you—getting to know the University
  6. Experience fabulous out-of-classroom enrichment (including travel to places like Cyprus, Spain and Florida during fall and spring breaks, and regular field trips to New York City and Philadelphia.)
  7. Complete a distribution requirement (State of the Earth: Shifts and Cycles is an STL, or take Wordplay: A Wry Plod from Babel to Scrabble for an LA!)
  8. Connect with others through the discussion-oriented format
  9. Make life long friends and …
  10. Grow personally and intellectually from a once (or twice) in a lifetime experience!

Freshman seminars require an application, and because you’re not guaranteed your first choice, the best strategy is to identify several that you’d enjoy (you are likely to find many more than that!). By mid-summer, you’ll be able to see course descriptions for Freshman Seminars. Entering first-year students who apply for a freshman seminar will learn about their seminar placement by email to their Princeton University email address before they arrive on campus in September.

Three important things to note:

  1. First-year students will also have an opportunity to apply for a Freshman Seminar for the spring semester.
  2. Applying to only one Freshman Seminar does not increase your chances of being placed in your top choice.
  3. Keep an eye out on email for the deadline!


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Author Profile

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Justine H. Levine
Director of Studies, Rockefeller College

As Director of Studies at Rockefeller College, I work closely with first years and sophomores, overseeing their academic progress and advising. Before joining the staff at Rocky, I was a fellowship adviser here at Princeton, and before that, I founded and directed the undergraduate research program at Rutgers, where I also worked for eight years as Assistant Dean for Sophomores and Associate Director of the Honors Program. I grew up in New Jersey, attended UCLA for my Masters’ in English Literature (where I studied the literature of marginalized groups in the U.S.), and returned to the Garden State for my doctoral degree in the Sociology and Philosophy of Education (Ed.D.), and I love thinking about higher education through a philosophical lens. I live in Hopewell with my husband and two young children, whom you may meet on campus. Though my work and family keep me busy, I can also be found out for a run, stealing a quiet moment in a yoga class, or trolling local farmer’s markets for seasonal produce.

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