February 13, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Amherst College a $100,000 grant in support of a new advising program for the sophomore and junior classes. The program, which will begin during the January Interterm period in 2004, will bring panels of alumni and faculty together to speak to students about the best ways to connect their Amherst educations to post-graduate study and career choices.

Ben Lieber, the dean of students at Amherst, says that the program is designed to help give students broader insights into the kinds of opportunities that are available to them in a variety of different majors. "Too many students have preconceived notions that one has to major in x in order to do y, and in many if not most instances that's simply not true," he notes. "We hope to use our alumni to suggest to students the sheer range of possibilities that almost any major will afford them in later life."

In the sophomore year, the program will focus on how the choice of majors may—or may not—affect students' future careers. A total of 15 panels will cover a substantial fraction of the majors offered at Amherst, and thus a substantial part of the range of interests—both in terms of major and in terms of possible professions—among the sophomore class.

The program for the junior class will offer advice on topics such as deciding whether or not to write a senior honors thesis, applying for national and international fellowships during the senior year, and managing the admission process for graduate and professional school. The college is organizing several panels to speak to students about these issues, including a panel with previous recipients of Rhodes, Marshall, Watson, Churchill and Fulbright fellowships.