Life as an LNF Frosh

Congrats on your admittance to Brandeis and to the LN Fellowship!

If you’re like me, opening your Brandeis envelope probably went something like this:
“WOO! Brandeis! WOOO! Wait… Lerman Neu-what?!”
Then maybe you did some Googling, searched College Confidential, visited the Brandeis website… and couldn’t really find much on what the students think about being an LN fellow. If that’s the case, then you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to tell you all about what to expect as a freshman LN fellow.

So in your letter, there’s some basic information on your fellowship. While at Brandeis, you will receive two stipends to finance summer research. This means that if you get an internship but can’t afford housing or are working unpaid, you can use one of your stipends that summer. You can use your stipends during whichever two summers you want.

Each semester, you’ll also receive book stipends. And believe me, textbooks are expensive, so getting some of that money back makes a big difference!

During your freshman year, you will take a special seminar class geared towards LN fellows and other Brandeis scholars. There are two choices of classes: one on Darwin’s Origin of the Species, and one on crime and punishment. Both are taught by exceptional Brandeis faculty. Sophomore year, you will take another seminar class with all the LN fellows. Your senior year you will have the opportunity to do a Capstone research project, or write a senior thesis.

While at Brandeis, you will be assigned a special LN Fellow advisor. This person is a faculty member in your field who will help advise you on classes to take and help you find research on campus.

So now you know about the basics of the program. But what’s even more important is learning about the students.

On Admitted Students’ Day in April, there will be a special reception for LN fellows and mentors. This is a great way to meet some of the faculty you will be working with, as well as future and current LN fellows. I met a few very nice students who helped me during my decision process by answering questions about Brandeis, and even touring me around the school.

Also, getting in touch with Misty is a good way to learn more about the program. While I was making my decision, I probably emailed her a dozen times with questions. She’s really helpful (she loves her job!) and knows a lot about Brandeis. And if there’s anything she can’t answer (rare) she’ll put you in touch with the people who do know the answer.

Let’s say you do choose Brandeis (Do it! Do it!). You’ll choose your classes in the summer, and again, talking to Misty and other fellows is a great way to make informed choices about your schedule.

Once you get to Brandeis, you’ll participate in freshman orientation along with everyone else, but you’ll also have the opportunity to attend a special Lerman Neubauer pre-orientation. I know it sounds like a lot to sacrifice a few extra days of your summer, but I thought the same thing and wound up having an amazing time at the pre-orientation. I got to arrive to campus early, set up my room, and then meet the other LN fellows in a small group. We really bonded over the two days we spent together. We did so many cool activities–we took personality tests, we explored Faneuil  Hall, we took a tour of Boston Commons at night, we ate a delicious dinner at a fancy restaurant… we had a blast. Mind you, all this happened during Hurricane Irene! By the time regular freshman orientation started, I’d already found a some friends, and by the time classes started, I’d already had contact with some of my classmates.

During the year, there will be various activities and outings that you can go to with your fellow fellows. This year, fellows went to the Boston Ballet, to a Celtics game, and to a chinese restaurant. Outings like this go on every year, and every semester. They’re a great way to get in touch with fellows in other grades, and to experience the Boston area.

As a fellow, you will have extra access to Misty, who works in academic services. She advises many, many people, and you will be one of them… however… as a fellow, you will see her more often and thus will be able to get extra advising from her if you want it. It’s great to have a resource like her.

I hope you now have a better idea of what it’s like to be an LN fellow. As always, I’m happy to answer questions, so feel free to leave comments or email me.

Good luck making your decision! I know right now it’s stressful, exciting, scary, and fun all at the same time. But in a month or so, you’ll have your decision and you’ll be on your way to a great college education, whether it’s at Brandeis (which we hope it is) or elsewhere. 🙂