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Articles / Applying to College / Poli Sci Background Reading for Yale-Bound Frosh

Dec. 29, 2012

Poli Sci Background Reading for Yale-Bound Frosh

Question: My kid is preparing for Yale (political science). Where can we find a reading list of books that would provide him with a solid foundation for successfully starting his freshman year?

This is a good question for an actual Yale political science professor rather than for an Internet dean who majored in English. ;-) So here's a contact you can try:


Director of Yale Political Science undergraduate studies: David Cameron, 115 Prospect St., 432-5236, david.r.cameron@yale.edu

You and your son can also look through the list of undergrad poli sci classes at Yale and see if there are particular courses that jump off the page. Then your son can contact the professors who teach these courses and ask for recommended background reading. See http://students.yale.edu/oci/ycps/ycpsProgramCourses.jsp?subject=PLSC&dept=Political%20Science&term=201203&term=201301

Yale does post course syllabi online, but they are only for members of the Yale community and are thus password-protected. If your son has been admitted to Yale via Early Action and has already committed to enroll, it's possible that he might be able to wangle access. But, instead, I would recommend that you find other political science syllabi online where no password is needed. For instance, MIT's Open Courseware offers extensive political science classes, and your son can find the reading lists online without registration or a password. See http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/political-science/

You can also check out Amazon's “Balanced Political Science Reading List for Beginners" at http://www.amazon.com/Balanced-Political-Science-Reading-Beginners/lm/220S6SZDSKHBM

In addition, I'll post your question on the College Confidential “Ask the Dean" forum and see if other CC members weigh in with suggestions.

Happy hunting!

(posted 12/29/2012)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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