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Sophomore Planning & Moderation

teacher1The curriculum of the first two years at Bard College at Simon’s Rock is designed to allow students to complete the requirements of the College’s associate of arts degree by the conclusion of their second year. By that point, they should have acquired the writing and thinking skills and basic general education in the liberal arts and sciences required to make informed decisions about the two remaining years of undergraduate study.

At this point, students may choose to complete their bachelor of arts degree at Simon’s Rock or transfer to another college or university. Sophomore Planning and Moderation are the formal processes that the College has designed to assist students in making this decision.

All sophomores complete the Sophomore Planning process. This involves meeting with their academic advisors early in the sophomore year to assess their progress toward completing the AA degree and discussing Moderation and transfer options individually with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.


Students planning or considering completion of their BA at Simon’s Rock move from the Lower College to the Upper College through a process called Moderation. Through Moderation, the student selects concentration(s) and related courses, reviews work to date, discusses interests and goals, explores Leave to Study Away options—including the College’s Signature Programs—and plans a program of study. Students initiate the Moderation process by speaking to their current academic advisor and selecting faculty members in their area(s) of interest. Together with the advisor, a student chooses a Moderation Committee of faculty members familiar with the student’s work. Prior to the conference,the student prepares a written Moderation Statement that explores these matters and distributes it to all members of the committee. The committee will require the students to submit a sample of their written work. At the conclusion of the meeting the students decide whether to retain their original academic advisor or to switch to a faculty member on their committee.

For the student, Moderation is an opportunity to explore options and seek advice; for the committee, it is an opportunity to assess the student’s readiness to undertake the advanced course work of the Upper College, including a Senior Thesis. Acceptance into the Upper College is not automatic and is confirmed by a formal letter from the advisor to the student summarizing the course of study that the student and the committee have outlined for the coming two years. Normally, Moderation occurs in the first semester of the sophomore year; in all cases a student is required to moderate before registering for classes as a junior. In general this process should be completed by March 1 of the sophomore year, since Moderation is required for students to apply for one of the numerous BA merit scholarships. Students moderating by April 15 have priority for admission into the Upper College. Students must have moderated into the Upper College in order to apply for returning student scholarships, register for courses for their junior year, or to receive a Leave to Study Away.


Students planning on transferring to complete their BA studies at another college or university should meet with the Director of Career Services to discuss transfer procedures; they should also meet with the Associate Dean and their academic advisor to discuss possible transfer schools. Transfer applications may be due as early as December 1 (for fall entrance) and as late as April or May. Students who are considering transfer are encouraged to begin to explore this option in the summer between their first and second year at the College.