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Advising Handbook

Take Five Scholars Program

The Take Five Scholars Program provides students with opportunities to explore additional disciplines and courses that might not otherwise be available to them. Students in programs that permit few electives, for example, may find the program particularly attractive. Accepted students will be granted one or two tuition-free semesters to take courses in addition to those needed to complete their degrees. Students may apply from the time they have been accepted into a major through the first semester of their senior year. Transfer students must have completed one full semester at the University before applying. (Second semester seniors are ineligible to apply unless they are re-applicants who have been invited to re-apply.) Applications are available at each of the numerous information sessions held each term, or at the Academic Services Counter outside Lattimore 312 after viewing the informational video (available in the Rush Rhees Multi-Media Center). The application deadline in the fall is November 1; in the spring it is the first Thursday after spring break.

Students in the College are encouraged to discuss their Take Five proposals with their faculty advisors and the Take Five advisor in the Center for Advising Services as they prepare their applications.

A special review process exists for all proposed courses taught outside the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering and the Eastman School of Music; such courses are normally not approved. Undergraduate courses taught at the Simon School are acceptable, however.

Students should also consult the faculty with whom they want to study, and/or the appropriate departmental administrators to be sure that the courses they want to take will be offered, and that they are appropriately prepared for the courses they intend to take. The Take Five Review Board strongly suggests that each applicant ask both his or her faculty advisor and an academic advisor to sign the application to indicate that they have reviewed the student’s program and that it meets the requirements.  Each applicant also needs to arrange for two full-time faculty members to send letters of recommendation to the Take Five Review Board on his or her behalf.

The board assumes that the following criteria will be met:

  • The intent of the proposed program aims to further a student’s general education.
  • The additional courses normally will be spread throughout the student’s third, fourth, and fifth years at the University, not taken in a single semester during or after completion of degree requirements.  (Note that typically this will delay completion of degree requirements.)
  • The Take Five courses will relate to one another and will be beyond the introductory level whenever possible.
  • The proposed program will not be used to obtain an additional major or degree.
  • Study abroad programs must be completed by the end of the fourth year. Take Five Scholars are expected to spend the fifth year enrolled in courses at the University.
  • The proposed courses cannot be used to complete Rochester Curriculum requirements, major requirements, or to obtain a graduate or additional undergraduate degree.
  • Credit earned during the tuition-free semester(s) cannot be applied toward the 128-credit hour degree requirement.
  • Applications will be judged on:
    • The coherence of the applicant’s program of study. How do the courses the applicant proposes fit together?  How will those courses allow the applicant to achieve his or her educational goals?
    • The intellectual breadth of the proposal and how it enhances the applicant’s current academic program.
    • The quality of the writing.

Fifth-year students are unlikely to be eligible for undergraduate housing, although they may serve as Residential advisors. The Rochester Living Program will guide students in the process of obtaining off-campus housing, if necessary.

Students should also be aware of the following:

  • Degrees are awarded and diplomas issued after the completion of the Take Five semester or year, and only after all Take Five courses are successfully completed.
  • Grades for courses taken in the fifth year will be included in the GPA, and the final (end of the fifth year) GPA will be used to calculate Latin Honors.
  • Take Five courses cannot be audited or used to repeat previous coursework. However, one course per semester may be taken on the S/F option.

Additional details about Commencement, yearbooks, etc., are available in the Take Five Scholars Program Acceptance Manual distributed to each student after being accepted into the Take Five Scholars Program. Information is also available at