Amanda (Missouri, Cornell TASP ’10) writes:
Well, I’m sure the difficulty of the coursework varies from professor to professor. In my seminar, we had reading assignments every night and group discussions every day. We wrote two major papers and did a couple of smaller assignments. One was an art project, and that was really fun. Our coursework was challenging, but not insurmountably difficult. In my opinion, the group discussion was actually more difficult (and more rewarding) than the coursework.
Ho Jun (Brazil, UMich TASP ’11) writes:
Yes. We read various texts that are often discussed at the undergraduate (and some even the graduate) level. We had several pages of reading to do every single day and a weekly essay to boot. But, ultimately the work, despite being challenging, was extremely rewarding and an intellectual experience as stimulating and rewarding as TASP is hard to come by.
Rachel (Ohio, Cornell TASP ’11) writes:
On any given evening, our seminar might require 10 to 200 pages of reading (though usually on the lower end). Although the coursework was very interesting (and different from anything I’d studied before), it never seemed overwhelming or too difficult. After all, there are different kinds of reading, and our professors understood that: you can read 150 pages of a good novel in one night; for more academic, philosophical material like Judith Butler, 40 or 50 pages works better. Moreover, seminar work at TASP didn’t feel like “homework” – it was part of our lives, something we talked and joked about even when we didn’t have to. Reading philosophy doesn’t feel like work at all when you’re on the porch of the Telluride House with five other people who are reading the same thing!
Jacob (Maryland, UMich TASP ’11) writes:
The work at TASP challenged me, but not in an off-putting way. The daily reading assignments averaged around 50-120 pages of dense material, but the texts were certainly worth the read. The other major component of the coursework, writing papers, was again thought-provoking but intense. Within the seminar itself, creatively contributing to discussions and occasionally leading them was the only classwork. Importantly, none of the assignments remotely resembled mindless “busy work”; I never had to rote memorize something or to do repetitive tasks. Though not for the faint of heart, someone who loves to learn will definitely enjoy the work at TASP.
Alaa (Texas, UT Austin ’10) writes:
I attended the UT Austin program in 2010 and our seminar focused on cultural and public diplomacy, mainly with the Middle East. The coursework was challenging and extensive, but it was very rewarding. One of the best things about TASP is that it isn’t a competitive atmosphere; everyone is there to learn. In that sense, you are encouraged to ask questions and swap ideas to get a better grasp of the material. Class discussions were based on the readings, and the professors were more than willing to answer questions, clarify ideas, and give their opinions on certain texts. The more you delve into the reading, the more enjoyable the discussions are because you get to present your views and support them with text, which is a valuable tool you can use the rest of your academic career. Take it as a chance to challenge yourself, decode the assignments and relate them to other texts from the class. It will make your experience that much more enjoyable.