Fussing over the Frosh

A new required course for CLA freshmen is unnecessary.

Daily Editorial Board

The University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts has instituted yet another hoop for incoming freshmen to jump through. A Minnesota Daily article published Sept. 25 reported the addition of a new class requirement that aims to introduce students “to the breadth and diversity of CLA academic programs” and offers “tools to aid in the transition from high school.” While these goals are far from ignoble, the method and delivery of information for this class is off-putting. Few freshmen look forward to reading assigned books the summer before college, or completing the course’s online component; they’d rather get to know their future roommates and learn more about the extracurricular activities the University has to offer. Goal setting and strategizing for success are important in college, but making freshmen confront their undergraduate aspirations before they’ve had a chance to process the new college environment is overwhelming and generates additional anxiety.

There is something to be said for a program that creates avenues for incoming freshmen to learn more about CLA and electives they’re interested in or meet other freshman with similar majors. But this class — a requirement for all future CLA freshmen — has already drawn the ire of current freshmen. As the Daily reported, 78 percent of students in an informal survey said the class wasn’t worth their time.

Like Welcome Week, this class turns a potentially good idea into a mandatory bore-fest, leading students to despise it. Part of the problem is that students hate extra and unnecessary work (a factor which will never change), and the other part lies in the patronizing aura of the class itself. The best way to transition to college is to jump in and start the experience — in real life, not online.