Williams a place of opportunity

What makes a Williams education is the amount of freedom available in choosing one’s courses. The actual system serves this purpose very well. It is not so stringent as to stop students from taking all the courses they want, and yet it does force science nerds to take some literature and some lit afficionados to put some sense into their brains.

It is essential that Williams not become a human factory churning out little clones with a “Made in Williams” stamp on them. The system as it stands forces students to try new things without excessively limiting their scope for action in the disciplines they do want to take I know that the Williams system as it is is one of the most compelling reasons why I chose to come here.

Students should be encouraged to develop in the way that is best suited to them. They should also get out of their education what they put into it. Williams is a place of opportunity.

Students and parents are not paying $35,000 a year for a fixed good rather, What makes a Williams education what it is the amount of freedom available in choosing one’s courses.

The actual system serves this purpose very well.

It is not so stringent as to stop students from taking all the courses they want, and yet it does force science nerds to take some literature and some artsy fartsy lit afficionados to put some sense into their brains.

It is essential that Williams not become a human factory, churning out little clones with a “Made in Williams” stamp on them.

The system as it stands forces students to try new things without excessively limiting their scope for action in the disciplines they do want to take I know that the Williams system as it is is one of the most compelling reasons why I chose to come here. Students should be encouraged to develop in the way that is best suited to them. They should also get out of their education what they put into it. Williams is a place of opportunity.

Students and parents are not paying $35.000 a year for a fixed good rather, they are paying that sum for the opportunity for their child to develop in the way that most suits them. If they want a fixed pedigree Harvard is 3 hours away.

The amazing thing about a Williams education is that it is tailor made to make probably the best out of what a student potentially can become in four years. Imposing too many requirements on what a student may or may not do on the one hand, limits this development, and on the other hand contributes to imposing a mold on a student rather than letting the student develop in his own particular way.

A core curriculum might help turn out a good all around education, but it will also breed conformity and in the end will limit the development of the student, hindering the ability of each student to pursue his interests to the fullest.

The current Williams system enables students to become brilliant in their fields of choice and yet also gain a diversity of knowledge that makes them well rounded to a minimum, and then on top of that as diverse as they wish to make themselves.

Some will argue that a student may not be getting what he should be out of his education, and it seems to me that the current debate stems from this concern. I would argue that, for the price he is paying, if a student cannot get from Williams what he wants, he can go to a more rigid curriculum elsewhere. In a sense, at Williams, one gets what one deserves. Perhaps a student who cannot seize the wide array of possibilities set out for him here does not deserve to be here, and should seek elsewhere to have some culture nannied and bullied into him.

I do not see the mission of Williams College as being the turning of mediocre minds into good ones, but as the breeding ground for sound free spirits (and of these there are many kinds) to become true leaders. Should this change, and Williams become an outpost for indoctrination rather than learning, dogma rather than reflection, and a commodity rather than a challenge, I would be forced to seek my fortune elsewhere.

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