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Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is eligible to apply to the program?

The program is open to all entering first-year students in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Weinberg-Bienen double majors. Prospective students should note that Kaplan Scholars classes meet four afternoons a week (see schedule below), and might be difficult for athletes to schedule. Unfortunately, the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program is not compatible with the requirements for first-year students in other schools in the University (Communications, Medill, SESP, etc.) and we are unable to consider non-Weinberg College students for the program.

Are there any prerequisites?

No, there are not any prerequisites for the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program.

What do I have to do to apply?

Admission to the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program is based on materials already in your original Northwestern application file. We are looking for a diverse group of enthusiastic, top-notch students with broad interests, and you only need to indicate that you would like to be considered for admission to the program by filling in a short form (no additional application is required).

To apply, please fill out and submit the application form. The application deadline is Monday, May 11, 2020. Decisions will be made the first week of June, and you will be notified either way.

What is the course load and how much credit will I receive for participating in the program?

Students in the program will receive credit for taking two courses in the fall, and two courses in the winter, for a total of four course credits. That means that the program will demand half of the typical first-year student's workload in the first two quarters. Students will therefore receive two grades for the program in the fall, and two again in the winter. Note that the workload and time spent in course instruction will be commensurate: with three hours of lectures and three hours of seminar meetings every week in each of the two quarters.

What Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences requirements does the program satisfy?

The program satisfies the Weinberg requirement that each student take two first-year seminars; hence students in the program do not enroll in one of the regular first-year seminars. Both lecture courses will also count as distribution courses, one in Area IV (Historical Studies) and one in Area VI (Literature and Fine Arts). In taking this program, students will not be delayed in the completion of their degree. 

Can I apply to the program even if I plan to major in the natural or social sciences?

Yes. The program encourages applications from students from the full range of disciplinary interests, including those who are not planning to major in the humanities. But please be aware that the program demands that students enroll in two courses in the fall and two in the winter, and hence students will not have room in their schedule for the program if they are planning to take three other courses in either of those quarters (for instance, a science course + a math course + a language course). This is because the maximum recommended course-load for first-years is four courses in any given quarter.

I am pre-med; do I have room in my schedule to take the program?

The answer depends on whether you plan to take two science/math classes plus a language course in either fall or winter quarter. If so, you will not have room in your schedule. However, many pre-med students have already satisfied one or more of these requirements; either because they have received AP credit for BC calculus and thereby already met their math requirement; because they have received AP credit for Chemistry and thereby already met their Physical Chemistry requirement; because they have already satisfied their language requirement through an AP exam or other test; or because they are willing to postpone their Northwestern language requirement until their sophomore year.

Can I apply to the program if I am also applying to the NU Bioscientist Program?

Technically, students may apply both to the NU Bioscientist Program and the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program, but there is no way to be considered simultaneously for both. Students may make the Kaplan Scholars Program their first choice. If they are not accepted, they will automatically be considered for NU Bioscientist. However, acceptance into the Kaplan Scholars Program precludes further consideration for NU Bioscientist. Students listing NU Bioscientist as their first choice for a first-year seminar unfortunately cannot be considered for the Kaplan Scholars Program, owing to the timing of the respective selection processes.

When will the courses meet?

Course times have been chosen so as to minimize conflicts with other courses a student might wish to take. Fall and Winter classes meet in the afternoons, Monday through Thursday, from 3:30-5pm. Generally, lectures will be on Monday and Wednesday, and seminars on Tuesday and Thursday.

I am a student-athlete; can I fit the course into my schedule?

Because the fall and winter courses will both meet on Monday through Thursday afternoons, it may be difficult for some student-athletes to enroll in the program, but check to see if the course is compatible with your practice schedule.

If I apply but do not get in, will I be disadvantaged in any way?

No. By agreement with the Dean's Office, Weinberg students who are not admitted to the Kaplan program are guaranteed to have an equal chance with all other students of getting into their next top choice for a first-year seminar. In other words, students are in no way disadvantaged in getting into a regular seminar by listing the Kaplan program as their top choice.

When will I find out whether I am admitted to the program?

Students will learn whether they have been admitted to the program around the first week of June.

Do I need to maintain a certain grade average in the Kaplan Scholars Program?

No. Students are selected for the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program based on their intellectual enthusiasm and curiosity; we are not a grade-driven program. Students are, however, expected to remain in good standing in the program, and failure to complete assignments or attend classes may be considered grounds for being discontinued after the fall quarter.

Students with questions should contact Tom Burke, Assistant Director of the Kaplan Institute.

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