If I major in a science field and participate in the ISP, will my schedule be too concentrated in the sciences?
No. While the ISP requires you to take several courses in science and mathematics, most of these are already required or recommended for the various science majors, so the total number of additional science courses you take is not greatly increased. In fact, the ISP seminar replaces the first-year seminar taken by all other first-year students, and the sophomore year science and society course counts toward college-wide distribution requirements. The only “additional” course in ISP, then, is the semester of research, but for most students, this is the most important career-building opportunity of the program.
What if I don’t know which STEM field I want to pursue?
If you’re in ISP, Prof. Draper will serve as your advisor until you declare a major, usually near the end of sophomore year. She will work with you to select courses carefully so that you can keep your options open and figure out what you like, and help you to choose your ISP research placement as well. Many ISP students find that their ISP research experience helps solidify the major they’re interested in.
Is the ISP a major?
No. The program complements the curriculum in any science major and provides students interested in other majors with a broad appreciation of science. Successful completion of the ISP will be noted on students’ transcripts.
May I study for a semester or a year abroad and still participate in the ISP?
Yes! Study abroad is an important experience, professionally and personally, and all students are encouraged to plan ahead to fit it in. Prof. Draper is especially eager to help students create a course schedule that will accommodate study abroad.
How do I know what to do research on? The idea of doing research seems exciting, but how will I decide on a research topic?
The goal of your first research experience is to learn what is involved in doing research. You will be guided in this learning process by your faculty supervisor, working closely with him or her, and often with an experienced student.
One common misperception about undergraduate research is the assumption that students must devise their own project. This is certainly not true for first-year students. In fact, most graduate students do not do this. The actual process you will follow is to select projects that interest you after touring all the laboratories and meeting all the faculty members who are available to take ISP students in a given year. After speaking with several individual faculty members, you will then make your selection. The procedures and methods involved in conducting the project are explained carefully and taught to you by your faculty and student mentors. Your level of participation in the research grows as you master the various aspects of the project.
Will the ISP isolate me from other students?
Not at all. You will take only one ISP course each term. All of your remaining courses will be regular courses that are open to all students. Although ISP students live in a residence hall together, there are five or six other seminars housed in the same hall, so you will meet students from all disciplines.
Am I required to take a first-year seminar in addition to the ISP seminar?
No. The ISP seminar, ISP 117, serves as your first-year seminar. As in other first-year seminars, you will do intensive writing and revision, learn to use the resources of the Trinity library, and participate in social events together.
What if I take the ISP seminar and then decide I don’t want to complete the program?
You will not be required to complete the program. Courses taken count for College credit regardless of whether you finish the program or not. If the ISP is completed, a notation will be made in your transcript.
Do ISP students have time for other interests?
Yes! ISP students are well-rounded. Many are leaders in campus organizations and about 20 percent participate in varsity athletics. In their sophomore through senior years, it is not unusual to find ISP students serving as teaching assistants or supplemental instruction leaders in the introductory science courses, leading extracurricular organizations, participating in community service or as resident assistants in the residence halls.