Moderation is a rather enigmatic process for most. Many fail to even recognize the name as anything of significance, despite its importance, and finding clear and concise information on the topic seems impossible. Fear not, however, as here is a clear guide from someone who's been through it:
What is Moderation? - Moderation is basically the process of declaring your major and minor (or your concentration and complement respectively in Simon’s Rock lingo). This is typically done towards the end of one’s sophomore year, but one can also moderate early or seek other alternatives, which will be discussed further later. Moderation may seem like a complicated and difficult process, but its appearance is deceptive. It is fairly streamlined, and quite easy altogether.
Moderation is composed of several different steps, in no particular order:
Forethought - One must, of course, have some notion of what their concentration would classify as. Some may have already chosen their concentration, and others may still have no real idea. However, this is what moderation seeks to figure out. It is important that one has at least a rough idea of where their interests lie, however, even for purely practical reasons. If one is struggling or is uncertain, they should speak to their advisor for further guidance.
Meetings - Throughout the entire process, one will be meeting with their advisor and other staff within their chosen fields, who are often one in the same. Initially, one should speak with their advisor to establish groundwork and to get the process rolling. Then, one should contact their professors of choice within their fields to speak with them about moderating.
At the end of the process, one will have a final meeting with one’s advisor and related professors. This meeting is usually fairly short, no more than an hour at most, and revolves around discussing one’s plans for the future and formally completing the necessary paperwork. One must provide a writing sample and a moderation statement, and should have chosen a concentration at the least by then. These documents are explained in the next section.
Paperwork - There are three main documents one will need: Paperwork, a writing sample, and a moderation statement.
The paperwork is simply a small packet where one details their concentration and such and roughly outline one’s schedule for the future. This is all non-binding, as one’s concentration and minor can be changed later through another moderation process, and the class guide one makes is only there for reference when signing up for classes later. Most of this paperwork will be done during the aforementioned moderation meeting, but one can optionally try to complete any amount of it beforehand.
The writing sample is just that - a writing sample. This can be literally anything one has written in the past. There are few requirements for this, and one should simply pick what they believe represents them and their capabilities the best. If one so desires, they can discuss further with their advisor or chosen professors about what to choose.
The moderation statement is a short, approximately two-page paper maximum detailing one’s interests, their rationale for their choice of concentration, and their plans going forward. Throughout one may intersperse further details and information to make it more interesting or compelling, but the core elements are simply those just mentioned. Though it may seem intimidating, it should not be once one has figured out their concentration.
Scheduling - Scheduling is an exceedingly important part of setting up a moderation meeting. Getting all the professors in the right place at the right time for half an hour can be arduous, and is debatably the hardest part of the process overall. Schedule well in advance, and double check to ensure that everyone is there on time. Do not be afraid to bother or remind the professors, as the extra caution is certainly warranted. One may also try using digital scheduling tools like Doodle, for example. Overall, just make sure everything is prepared and certain.
Angus Finn MacLeod
Angus Finn MacLeod is a Junior at Simon’s Rock and the Director of Opinions and Humor at The Weekly Cad.