- Why Simons Rock
- The Academic Experience
We take you seriously as scholars and as thinkers. We believe your ideas matter. In
small classes with lots of individual attention, you’ll get an education that’s about
connecting and synthesizing—not memorizing and regurgitating.
As you study science and math, languages and literature, the social sciences, and
the arts, you’ll learn how to learn: you’ll find that asking insightful questions
becomes second nature, and discover commonalities and connections no one noticed before—a
surprisingly rare skill, and one that’s highly valuable in graduate school, the workplace,
The First Year: Writing and Thinking
You’ll be expected to write (and write, and write) in every class at Simon’s Rock—tangible
proof of your ability to think clearly and coherently, and to develop a complex, persuasive
argument. That’s why your very first experience on campus is the intensive weeklong
Writing and Thinking workshop led by faculty from different disciplines. You’ll gather
in small groups (generally 11 students and a professor) to pursue the arts of critical
thinking and clear expression.
The first and second years: exploring widely
In your freshman and sophomore years at Simon’s Rock, half of your classes will be
a core of seminars that all students take simultaneously. Seminars are small, intense,
and exhilarating. You’ll see how ideas collide, clash, and feed off one another. You’ll
learn to look at the world through multiple lenses. Once you start thinking like this,
it’s hard to stop: don’t be surprised to find yourself in the lunchroom with your
classmates discussing things like the platonic ideal of cake.
The other half of your courses in your first two years will be electives, which you’ll
choose with your advisor based on 1.) The general direction you’d like your life to
take (no worries if that’s still pretty amorphous); 2.) Topics that excite you the
most (and it’s perfectly fine to study multiple topics simultaneously); and 3.) Topics
you never dreamed you’d study (we’re good at helping you arrive at unexpected destinations).
Simon’s Rock is all about rigor, discovery, and support.
The second year: your plan comes into focus
Early in your second year, you’ll begin what we call Moderation—a scholarly term we
borrowed from Oxford University. You’ll meet with your academic advisor and the associate
dean of academic affairs to delve into what really excites you and help you blaze
your own path. You’ll consider how to best achieve your goals at Simon’s Rock. You
can also discuss transferring as a junior to another college or university.
At the heart of Moderation is the creation of an intellectual roadmap. You’ll meet
with faculty members in your area(s) of interest and together design a program of
study for the next two years of your academic life. Our professors excel at setting
the bar slightly above what you think is possible—and then showing you how to clear
it. This is also when you’ll align your interests and goals with our 35+ concentrations.
The third year: digging deeper, making new discoveries
As you continue to focus your studies, we’ll encourage you to take advantage of more
rich and exciting opportunities. Our many offerings beyond the classroom include internships,
tutorials, independent study, and off-campus experiences. Here’s a pleasing irony:
we’re a small, intimate school—but our opportunities open up a wide world to you.
The fourth year: Senior Thesis
Also known as “the kind of work most people don’t do until they’re in graduate school,”
the Senior Thesis is a yearlong project, required of all seniors. Theses can be works
of historical and literary scholarship, original scientific investigation, or extended
creative projects. It’s the capstone of your work at Simon’s Rock, and an experience
that Rockers from any class year can bond over. You’ll take on every aspect of the
project, from conception to production.
Your professors and advisors will do the things they’ve been doing all along, only
more so: provoke, encourage, nudge, nurture, and applaud. When you’re done, a copy
of your thesis is bound and kept in the Alumni Library—your contribution to the world’s
storehouse of knowledge.