Of the 2,000 students at Williams, at least 40 (call it 2%) would be better off if they took my Winter Study class, SPEC 29: Applied Data Analysis, then if they took a different class. I will teach them enough pre-professional quality data analysis skills that they will be able to get a better internship/job (and then do better in that position) then they would have if they had not taken the class. Consider what students from last year accomplished.

Read below to figure out if you are in that 2%.

1) Figuring out which students should not take my class is somewhat easier then figuring out which students should.

a) If you are interested in traveling during Winter Study, you should take a Winter Study that goes some place. This is all the more true if you won’t be able to go abroad Junior year.

b) If you are passionate about a particular topic with an associated Winter Study class, you should take that class. Life is short. Study what you love, whether it be glassblowing, Pluto, wine, or bicycle maintenance.

c) If there is a particular amazing professor that you want to spend more time with or get to know better, take her course. (Readers should feel free to make specific course suggestions in the comments.)

d) If you do not want to work “hard” (40+ hours a week) during Winter Study, don’t take my class. My students work.

How many students does that leave? I don’t know. Hundreds?

2) You should definitely take my course if you were planning to take some other class that, in your mind, was going to prepare you better for your future internship/job. Classic examples of such classes include ECON 14 Accounting and ECON 15 Stock Market. Are there others? Note: I have nothing against either class. Indeed, I am a big fan of both accounting and the stock market! But too many of the students who take these classes (I have talked to several) take them because they think that doing so will help them in their job search/performance. It may. But taking my class would do much more.

3) You should take my class if you are interested in a highly competitive field for post-graduation. One standard example would be a career in finance. (See also.) Perhaps better examples involve students who want to do things like work in professional baseball or at a high profile non-profit. Lots of graduates from places like Williams want those jobs. They are all smart. They all work hard. They all write well. You need something that sets you apart to get those jobs. Being able to work with data could be your advantage.

4) Feel free to contact my students from last year. Although there will be a fair number of changes to the class this year (projects on any topic, not just finance; more directed practice/exercises with R), those students are still your best, unbiased source of information about me.

Any suggestions for how I might reach out to students, beyond posting at EphBlog? Perhaps an announcement at WSO? I was contacted by several students last year who said (truthfully?) that they would have taken the class if they had been aware of it. I want to make sure that such students know about the class.

Any questions/comments about the course? Ask away. Feedback is always appreciated.

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