Free Resources for Students Interested in Classics
“I strongly support The Paideia Institute’s effort to encourage high school students to explore and study the classical humanities. Understanding and appreciating the roots of Western thought and culture offers students the advantage of relevant and timeless insights. As a classicist myself, I regularly encourage prospective and current Cornell students to learn about our ancient past, as it lends a clarity of thought that is critical to any career path and to being an engaged, productive citizen.”–Hunter R. Rawlings III, Interim President, Cornell University
With the Classics in College initiative, The Paideia Institute aims to further its core mission of encouraging the study of the classical humanities by supporting high school students interested in studying classics at college during the college admissions process. Paideia uses its network of alumni and professors to provide resources and information to students interested in studying Classics at the college-level.
Studying Classics in college is not necessarily an option that every high school student considers, nor are the benefits of a classical education immediately clear. This is why Paideia feels it important to facilitate a conversation between college Classics departments and prospective students who are curious about what a Classics major has to offer them.
Learning about the Department
In order to find out which department would be the best fit for your interests, we first suggest that you do some simple online research. Definitely take a look at at each college's Classics department website, see what professors' research interests are, and check out what the program requirements are in terms of language, history, literature courses, etc. By looking at these components, you'll be able to get a sense of what the focuses of each Classics department are, and whether they would be interesting to you.
Once you've researched the department's website thoroughly, have looked through all the professors' profiles, and understood the course requirements, the next step is reaching out to the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies, or someone in an equivalent position. This person is a professor within the department who is a designated resources for prospective students. You can send this professor any further inquiries about the department and its program you may have, i.e., questions that the department's website does not already answer.
When contacting this professor, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you write:
- If you are a Paideia alumnus or alumna, be sure to mention your experience studying in Rome.
- Ask questions that aren't already answered on the department website and show that you are genuinely interested in the specific school and/or program.
- "Professor" is the title you should use when addressing a college or university professor in e-mail or in person (e.g. "Dear Professor Dumbledore,").
- Don't be nervous! These professors are delighted to hear from eager young classicists!
Planning a Visit
If you are planning a visit to a school and would like to meet with a professor in person, you should send a short email, introducing yourself, and ask whether he or she might have time during your visit to meet with you and answer your questions about the department. It's a good idea to keep this email brief, reserving any questions you have for the actual, in-person meeting.
It's always nice to learn more about a professor's research interests and to ask questions that show you are interested in their work when you meet with them. No one expects you to be an expert, but professors always appreciate students' curiosity!
Have more questions about studying Classics at the college level? We're here to help. Contact us via email at [email protected].