Pre-College Programs

May 18, 2017

It's not too late! These can’t-miss classes still have room for you.

To help you narrow down your course selection, James Chansky, assistant dean of Pre-College Programs and philosophy scholar, writes about some of his favorite picks that are still open and should not be missed.




Socrates was said to have been the wisest of men not because of what he knew, but because he knew what he did not know.

As summer is almost here, I’m thinking of all the parents who tell me how much they wished for a program like Summer@Brown for themselves, so they could go back and learn all the things they wished they knew now. In this regard, these parents are surely wise like Socrates themselves. And yet, each one of them likely look back and see the missed opportunity, the moment when they might have learned what they wished they knew now, and they recognize Summer@Brown as offering their children precisely that.

So here’s a fairly random wandering through some of those missed opportunities. (As you click on the links below, you’ll see courses that give you different answers to single questions, and many that answer questions that you didn’t know you were asking - in typical Brown fashion, these are some of the best ways to learn anything.)

1.) Almost everyone says they wished they knew how to write better, no matter what their profession, and that to be a better writer, they wished they knew what to read so they could see what good writing looks like.

2.) In trying to make sense of the world around them, many wish they had studied more history, and better understood the political dynamics behind what happens in the world in which they live now – as well as the worlds in which they do not live.

3.) They wonder how distant past and unfamiliar worlds can inform them about the present and the future, and whether fixing the things in the world that need fixing can be done fast and well enough.

4.) And they wished they knew how to look at things other than just in the usual way most of us look at the world, and to appreciate the different ways others look at it, too.

5.) As they get older, they start to wonder about everything even more, and just wish they had the time now to go back and dig into it all….

Carpe Diem.