Advising relationships play a crucial role in a Carleton education, empowering students to take ownership of their education. Beginning with their arrival in the fall and continuing through their first two years at Carleton, new students are assigned a “liberal arts adviser” who will help orient them to the educational opportunities at Carleton and facilitate active and thoughtful planning. When students declare a major, they will develop an advising relationship with a professor in a chosen area of study. Students work with this, “major adviser,” and often with other mentors as well, through coursework, research, and engaged learning opportunities on and off campus to finish their pathway towards graduation.
At Carleton, liberal education is not only about fulfilling requirements (though there are a few), but about charting a rich and meaningful educational trajectory through the liberal arts. A “liberal arts” education is meant to facilitate human growth and freedom (that’s what “liberal” means in this context) through broad and deep inquiry. Liberal arts advisers work with students to design a program of study that develops strong intellectual and practical skills, the capacity to engage with complex and diverse communities, breadth of knowledge, and an interdisciplinary flexibility of mind—and, above all, the ability to put these skills and perspectives into practice in a variety of different circumstances.
Students and their liberal arts advisers should work together individually to ensure that, by the end of the second year, the student has:
- articulated a program of study and reasons for choosing it;
- planned and applied for at least one experience or program beyond the traditional classroom that is exciting and makes sense in the context of the academic plan–whether through off-campus study, community and/or civic engagement, internship or research options; and
- declared a major (and possibly a minor or more than one), and established a mentoring relationship with a professor in a chosen area(s) of study.
Students should also be able to:
- reflect on their experiences so as to identify their own interests, strengths, and challenges;
- articulate their educational goals and strategies for achieving them.