By Josee Smith
Sophomore College received over 1,000 applications from over 500 students – or slightly under a third of the freshman class – by the April 9 deadline, according to Lee West, associate director of Stanford Introductory Studies.
Sophomore College is a three-week residential summer program during which incoming second-year undergraduates participate in seminars of 12 to 14 students and “engage in intense academic exploration, forming a community of scholars with peers, upperclass assistants and professors,” according to the Sophomore College website.
This year, eight seminars will be held partially or fully off-campus.
“All on-campus seminars include field trips as a part of their curriculum,” West added in an email to The Daily.
“We don’t place any pre-determined limit on the number of off-campus seminars,” he said. “What’s most important is providing students with a range of compelling seminars spanning the disciplines.”
While seminars involving travel – especially abroad, but also to destinations in the United States – tended to receive a higher number of applications, “many on-campus seminars received the same number of applications as off-campus seminars,” West said.
He added that the Sophomore College staff members are always looking to improve the program, from developing new seminars to improving the overall experience for students.
“This year, we are working with the two Sophomore College Assistants selected by faculty for each course to create more opportunities for students to share with each other what they are doing in their seminars, something students have told us in program evaluations that they would like to see increased,” West said.
Stanford Arts Intensive also takes place during the three weeks in September before the start of fall quarter. Data on Arts Intensive applications, which were also due April 9, is not yet available.
“Arts Intensive offers students the opportunity to study intensively with Stanford arts faculty and small groups of other Stanford students passionate about art,” according to the website.
Marie-Louise Catsalis, a conductor, vocal coach and keyboard accompanist at Stanford, will be leading an Arts Intensive seminar, An Operatic Play: ‘Mozart’s 7 Deadly Sins,” along with vocal coach Nova Jimenez.
“Mozart is one of the most loved composers of all time,” Catsalis wrote in an email to The Daily. “There is no better way into the world of opera than through his repertoire.”
“We will take that as a starting point in creating our own musical play,” she added. “Stanford Opera Workshop created ‘Mozart’s 7 Deadly Sins’ in winter 2011. Following that success, we used that show as a blueprint, but it will generate a new show: totally different cast, musical numbers and script.”
Catsalis added that in choosing seminar participants from the applicants, she and Jimenez are looking for students who are willing to try something new and jump into creating a theatrical product.
“We want to find students who might like to design costumes or sets from scratch, singers and actors who would like to bring a character to life, instrumentalists who would like to get to know the music of Mozart from the inside out, by arranging for our ensemble,” Catsalis said.
“In short,” she continued,” we want students who will not be shy to unleash their creativity: one of the most interesting applications I have read so far comes from a student who plays flute and sings, but preferably would like to do both in this production. That is the sort of enthusiasm we are looking for.”
Decisions about Sophomore College and Arts Intensive will be released April 30 after 5 p.m. on the Stanford September Studies websites for the respective programs.