Students who do cool things: Independent Concentrators

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Strong, independent Brown students who don’t need no defined concentration.

“Doesn’t everyone at Brown, like, make up their own major?” You might laugh off questions like this from naïve relatives, but if you wish their imagined version of Brown were actually the real one, an independent concentration is for you. Contrary to popular belief, there are only about 20 independent concentrators per class, but they each have a passion that drove them to design their own focus of study from scratch.

Last week, I attended an Independent Concentration info session to learn about the process of applying for an IC and all of the awesome concentrations that students have already put together. If you’re reading this is and thinking, “Damn, an independent concentration sounds so cool, but I’m already a junior,” it’s not too late: you can apply for an IC through your sixth semester.

But be warned: an independent concentration isn’t for the faint of heart simply looking to get out of other concentration requirements. In fact, an independent concentration takes much more thought and effort than a traditional one, and requires you to have a passion for something completely outside the realm of a current concentration. Students who pursue ICs work closely with a faculty advisor to create a cohesive course trajectory, and round off their concentrations with a capstone project or thesis.

To apply to be an independent concentrator, interested students fill out an online application that includes their intended course selection and a personal statement, and applications are reviewed three times per semester. A subcommittee of student ICers and faculty members read applications and give one of three decisions: accepted, tentative approval pending some changes, or encouraged to resubmit.

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What to do this week: September 15 – 21

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Monday, September 15:

Event: William Deresiewicz Lecture
Time: 6 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: 70 Brown St, McComack Family Theatre

Deresiewicz is the author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite (and a recently trending article on the New Republic that spoke of the same subject). Come hear and question him tonight on the subject of our very own education.

Tuesday, September 16:

Event: Pell Grant Symposium
Time: 6 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Macmillan 117

Come to this event hosted by the Education from the Inside Out Coalition to learn about the barriers currently facing previously incarcerated students reintegrating into society. With rising populations in both state and federal prisons, this symposium will discuss the necessary reforms for helping students get back on their feet. A panel of experts (that includes previously incarcerated students) will speak.

Event: BlogDailyHerald Info Session!!!!
Time: 7 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: 195 Angell St (The Herald Offices)

All are welcome to our info session tomorrow night to learn the details about the best organization on campus, and to ask any questions about our applications, which are due Friday, September 19. We’re hearing all the cool kids are coming so you should probably mark your calendar.

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