Skip to main content

The English Comps Symposium

Andriana writes about attending the English Comps Symposium over the weekend!

Andriana writes about attending the English Comps Symposium over the weekend!


Hello everyone!

It was a beautiful weekend in Northfield—the sun was shining, the days were warm, and it felt like spring was truly here. What could make a weekend like this even better? Comps!

The outside of the Weitz on a sunny day
The Weitz Center for Creativity

On Saturday, senior English majors gathered in the Weitz Center for Creativity to present their comps, the culmination of their studies at Carleton. Friends, family, peers, and professors gathered to appreciate the seniors’ work and celebrate their accomplishments. It was an exciting day for the department!

What are comps projects?

Each senior at Carleton will undergo a process called comps. In order to graduate, seniors must work with their department to put together a project, the culminating work of their education. These projects can be anything from research papers to creative pieces (performances, writing, etc.).

Because it is usually the last major requirement seniors need for their major, it is quite a celebratory achievement!

The English Comps

The English department gives students a lot of flexibility with their comps projects. We have four main options in the department: colloquium, creative writing, research, and project. Each option allows students to hone a specific skill in the department.

Colloquium is a collaborative option, and an opportunity for students to cover a variety of fiction and non-fiction as a group. The creative writing and project options are great ways for students to apply their personal interests to the discipline. The research option allows students to direct their attention to a specific topic of interest—a particular novel, writer, or theme, for example.

The Comps Symposium

The Comps Symposium was primarily an opportunity for seniors to share their hard work. Much of the department was in attendance, as well as any friends and family that students had invited. Each student had around 10-15 minutes to share their work, and there was time for questions after.

After the presentations on Saturday, there was a pizza lunch outside. And then came the most unexpected part of the day. There was a rickshaw in the Weitz courtyard. (Can you guess where I’m going with this? Probably not…) My Bible as Literature professor pedaled my friend and me around the block in a rickshaw.

A very memorable (and surreal?) experience!

English comps richshaw
Two professors and a rickshaw…

At the end of the day—

I really enjoyed hearing about the cool things my peers were thinking about this year. It was definitely useful to get a glimpse of what I’ll be doing next year(!).

(P.S. For more pictures and videos from the event, check out the department’s Facebook page!)


Andriana is a native of Richmond, VA, though her love of snow suggests she might be a northerner at heart. She is in her junior year at Carleton, where she is an English major and a Cross-Cultural Studies minor. When Andriana isn’t busy staying warm in the Minnesotan tundra, you can find her binge-reading, playing music, or watching a favorite movie or show for the umpteenth time. Meet the other bloggers!