Union Scholars FAQ

This page is a resource for students and advisors looking for answers to specific questions about the Union Scholars Program. If you cannot find an answer to your question, contact the program director Margaret Tongue at (518) 388-8311, or by e-mail at tonguem@union.edu  _______________________________________________
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What is the Union Scholars Program?

The Union College Scholars Program aims to enhance the undergraduate experience by offering selected students an opportunity to take more classes and smaller, more intensive classes. The Program also offers a range of social and intellectual activities and events throughout the year.

Union Scholars carry an extra course in at least two of their four years at no extra cost. In addition, they enroll in a special Scholars Preceptorial Seminar first term and a Scholars Research Seminar second or third term of their first year.  During sophomore year, they do a two-term independent study with a professor of their choice. In addition, they are strongly encouraged to take the Scholars Colloquium in the senior year.

Students who complete the program successfully will receive a "Union Scholar" designation on their transcripts. 
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What is the Seward Fellows Program?

The Seward Interdisciplinary Fellows program lets students develop their own program of study exploring connections among disciplines.

Normally, students apply during fall of their sophomore year. They may be from any discipline but must have demonstrated excellence in their first year at Union College. Seward Fellows build an interdisciplinary "Organizing Theme" minor that includes a faculty-supervised independent project. The program includes the privilege of taking extra courses. Check the Seward Fellows web page for more info. 
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How do I become a Union Scholar?

The only way to become a Union Scholar is to have been asked to apply by Union College upon admission as a first-year student. Each year, top applicants to the college are offered the opportunity to join the program.
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What are the program requirements?

Information regarding the program requirements is summarized under Program Description.
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When can I take extra courses?

Scholars need 38 course credits to graduate (rather than the 36 courses that most majors at Union require) and use their additional courses to create an enriched program that meets their specific needs and interests. Most Scholars take extra courses in their first and sophomore years. Fall term first-year students may not take an extra course. In addition, Union Scholars have the privilege of taking one extra course each term at no extra cost, as long as they are in good standing as a Scholar and are meeting or exceeding the minimum Scholars GPA.  Scholars may not hold over the free fourth course to another term.

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What about the Union Graduate College business program?

The School of Management at the Union Graduate College (UGC) offers some classes that undergraduates may enroll in. Union Scholars may take up to two UGC courses (from a list of acceptable courses) that can count as undergraduate electives. More than two UGC courses cannot count toward the undergraduate degree unless the student matriculates into the joint BS/BA/MBA program prior to the end of his/her tenth term at Union. Scholars who matriculate into the joint BS/BA/MBA program may double count a third UGC course toward their undergraduate degree as well as toward the MBA. Once matriculated in the joint BS/BA/MBA program, Union Scholars may take additional UGC courses. Those BS/BA/MBA Scholars will continue to receive their financial aid through their full four years of undergraduate school.

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 How does a Scholar graduate early?

Scholars are allowed to graduate up to 3 terms early if they meet all the requirements for the Scholars program as well as the regular graduation requirements. Scholars interested in pursuing this option must get permission from the Dean of Studies at least one year in advance.

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 Can I become a Scholar if I'm already at Union?

Students are normally asked to become Union Scholars only when applying as prospective students. However, outstanding students already at Union who would like some of the same privileges as the Scholars Program should consider applying for the Seward Fellows Program in their sophomore year.

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Details on Sophomore Project

All Union Scholars are expected to complete a two-term, one-course-credit Sophomore Project during their second year. This project may be on the topic of your choice, either related to your future major or something completely different. Early spring term you should begin the process of choosing a topic and supervisor. If you have an idea about what you want to do, try contacting the Union professor you feel would best supervise your project. If you have no idea, you may talk with your advisor, with the Scholars Program Director, or with other Scholars. The aim is to come up with a project you really want to do. There will also be a meeting held spring term that will give first-year students a chance to become better acquainted with their Sophomore Project options. The work load expected from a sophomore project is roughly equivalent to that of one course. The project does not have to end in a written paper; it may involve a performance, film, presentation, or other product(s), provided you have chosen an appropriate supervisor who supports the project. The Sophomore Project is usually carried as an extra course over two terms, either fall-winter or winter-spring (or even fall-spring if need be). All sophomore Scholars are strongly encouraged to present their projects at a Steinmetz symposium either sophomore or junior years. The Steinmetz symposium is an annual event at Union every spring where students formally present their projects and theses to their peers. For more go to the Sophomore Project FAQ

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How to Record Sophomore Projects with the Registrar

Students doing Sophomore Projects sign up for courses numbered 295H and 296H in the department of the professor they are working with.  For instance, a Scholar working with a History professor will sign up for HST 295H one term and HST 296H the next.  295H is a zero-credit, pass/fail course.  296H is a one-credit graded course.  By signing up for both courses the Scholar gets one course credit over two terms. The work load expected from a sophomore project is roughly equivalent to that of one course. The project does not have to end in a written paper; it may involve a performance, film, presentation, or other product(s), provided you have chosen an appropriate supervisor who supports the project. The Sophomore Project is usually carried as an extra course over two terms, either fall-winter or winter-spring (or even fall-spring if need be). All sophomore Scholars are strongly encouraged to present their projects at a Steinmetz symposium either sophomore or junior years. The Steinmetz symposium is an annual event at Union every spring where students formally present their projects and theses to their peers.

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Details on Senior Scholars Colloquium

The Senior Scholars Colloquium (SCH400) is offered in the spring term, and students usually carry it as an extra fourth course. It is not required, but all Union Scholar seniors are strongly encouraged to take it. For details on the content of this year's Senior Scholars Colloquium, please contact Maggie Tongue at tonguem@union.edu.

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Union Scholars policy on terms abroad?

As with all Union College students, the Union Scholars are encouraged to take a term abroad. Many times this is most conveniently done during the junior year. All students must go through the same application process. However, many Union Scholars would be ideal students for a range of term abroad programs, so they are encouraged to apply to the terms abroad programs of greatest interest to them. Union Scholars have to follow the policies of the International Programs Office. They may not take courses pass/fail, and they may not take an extra course on their term abroad unless it is explicitly stated they may as a part of that term abroad's guidelines. Union Scholars also have to abide by the general college policy that students who have already gone on a term abroad are given lowest priority when applying for a second term abroad. This policy is in place to ensure that as many students as possible are able to take a term abroad.

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Policy on summer courses?

As with other Union students, Union Scholars may take courses over the summer, and they have to pay for these on a per-course basis. Summer courses may not be used as fourth course.

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Where do I go with problems or concerns?

Your first stop if you have any questions, concerns or problems related to the Scholars Program should be with the program director, Margaret Tongue. You may reach the director by phone at (518) 388-8311, e-mail tonguem@union.edu, or in her office located in the Becker Hall, Room 102.  You may also find that your assigned advisor can help. Your department advisor would likely be the most helpful with questions related to your major.

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