Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a candidate for admission to the Guided Studies Program?

Each year, selected applicants for admission to Trinity are invited to become candidates for enrollment in Guided Studies. If you receive such an invitation and wish to be considered for possible participation in the program, you will receive a link to our application website. Any other Trinity applicant who finds the program appealing may likewise become a candidate by writing Professor Wheatley at

If I express interest in Guided Studies, what happens then?

If the Admissions Office makes a favorable decision on your application to Trinity, the Guided Studies Steering Committee (composed of faculty who teach in the program and co-directors Frank Kirkpatrick and Chloe Wheatley) will then review your academic qualifications and determine whether to admit you to Guided Studies.  Since there is room in Guided Studies for only about 25 students in each entering class, it is not always possible to accommodate all those who wish to participate. When the number of candidates exceeds the number of places, preference is given to those the Steering Committee judges to have the strongest aptitude and motivation for the type of rigorous study the program entails.

Will my chances of gaining admission to Trinity be affected by my decision about Guided Studies?

No. Admissions decisions are made independently of Guided Studies considerations. If you are invited to become a candidate for the program but choose not to do so, that will not adversely affect your prospects of being admitted to the College. Nor will your chances of gaining admission be strengthened because you have expressed interest in Guided Studies.

Can I begin Guided Studies at any time after the start of my first year?

A very small number of sophomores and juniors may be admitted to the program on a “space-available” basis. And students are occasionally taken into Guided Studies at the midpoint of their first year.

Who will be my faculty adviser if I participate in the Guided Studies Program?

Since students in Guided Studies ordinarily do not take a first-year seminar, they have as their first-year/sophomore adviser one of the faculty members in the program or the program’s director.

I plan to take a sizable number of courses related to my major during the first two years. Can I still participate in Guided Studies?

Yes, definitely. During the first and sophomore years combined, students typically enroll in a total of from 17 to 19 courses. Since Guided Studies consists of only eight courses, you will have ample opportunity to take work in other subjects in those years. Moreover, the five- and six-semester options enable you to elect even more non-Guided Studies courses as a first-year and sophomore. Those options may be particularly appropriate for students pursuing pre-medical studies or planning to major in the sciences or engineering.

My primary interest is in the social sciences, the natural sciences, or the arts. Why should I consider participating in a program that emphasizes the humanities?

The program can have substantial value for those intending to major in other areas.  By enabling students to incorporate a coherent humanities sequence into their course of study, the program can help them achieve a broader, more balanced liberal education. Over the years, substantial numbers of arts, social science, and natural science students (including many pre-meds) have taken Guided Studies and thrived.

How heavy is the workload in Guided Studies?

Because the program is intended for strongly motivated students who want to be challenged academically, all of the courses require a great deal of reading, writing, and critical thinking. Most Guided Studies students have found the subject matter to be so interesting and stimulating that they haven’t regarded the workload as burdensome. In those few cases in which a student decides, after a semester or two, that the program is not an appropriate fit, he or she is welcome to withdraw from it, as a few participants do each academic year. It should be noted, however, that Guided Studies students have had the time to involve themselves in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, including the student newspaper and radio station, many different intercollegiate sports, musical and theatrical groups, and volunteer work in the Hartford community.

Will it be possible for me to study abroad if I choose to do Guided Studies?

Yes. In fact, the proportion of Guided Studies students studying abroad is larger than that of the overall student body. Many participants in the program report that it has provided them with especially valuable preparation for study away.

What are the career interests and goals of Guided Studies students?

Participants in Guided Studies, like the Trinity student body as a whole, are interested in a wide variety of occupations and professions. Students have found that the knowledge and exacting intellectual discipline it provides constitute valuable background preparation for many different careers.

What happens if I decide to drop out of the Guided Studies Program before completing it?

You may withdraw from the program at the end of any semester, and you will receive full academic credit for those Guided Studies courses you have successfully completed up to that time. There is no penalty for withdrawal.

If I am admitted to the Guided Studies Program does that mean that I will be entitled to remain in it until completion?

No. The Program Steering Committee maintains standards of satisfactory progress; students failing to work up to those standards can be asked to withdraw from the program. Fortunately, this happens only very rarely.

How does Guided Studies relate to Trinity’s general education requirements?

The Guided Studies Program is an alternative to the first-year seminar requirement. By taking a designated writing-intensive Guided Studies course in the first semester, you can fulfill part one of the two-part writing requirement all students must meet. Moreover, any of the eight specified Guided Studies courses satisfies the humanities distribution requirements, and GDST 243 and 253 both fulfill the global engagement requirement. Students often choose as their Guided Studies elective a course that meets the arts distribution requirement.

What recognition is accorded students who participate in the Guided Studies Program?

The fact that you have successfully completed the Guided Studies sequence will be noted on your transcript.​