Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Westhem: Educational freedom at Stanford

Jerry Yang expressed that, in applying to Stanford, he really liked that he didn’t have to apply to a particular major, claiming, “as a 17/18 year old, it’s hard to know what you want to do.” That was why he picked Stanford over Cal, because he liked how your undergraduate career could be so open ended and you could make it however you desire it to be.
            That same culture of exploration and discovery is still true today and is a valued part of the Stanford education and as the Dean of Engineering told us, is the reason why many engineering students prefer Stanford over MIT of Cal Tech since they have more freedom.
            I don’t understand why schools lock students in upon applying. I guess its so they don’t end up with a bunch of students in one major, but students interests change and the application is a better indication of what he/she will end up studying, not what he/she thinks she’ll be studying a couple years from then. I myself, as a senior in high school had no idea what American Studies was and I thought I would be an English major. Good thing Stanford doesn’t require you to pick a major and gives you the option of undecided or else I would be locked into a headache of literature! 

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