Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re new to the RC, or U of M in general, the information can be something of an overload. Read through some of our frequently asked questions and answers for help.
- What is the mission of the RC?
- How is the RC a part of U of M?
- Does the RC have grades?
- What are the requirements for the RC?
- Who is eligible to apply to the RC?
- Can I do both RC and Honors?
- Can I participate in any other Michigan Learning communities if I am in the RC?
- What is the male/female ratio in the RC?
- Is there a tuition difference for the RC?
- What is a First Year Seminar?
- What is the RC foreign language requirement?
- What is a living/learning community?
- How many RC courses does the average student take?
- What is the average class size of the RC?
- Do RC students have a lot of contact with their professors?
- What facilities does the RC have on-site?
- What kind of reputation does the RC have?
- If I’m in the RC, can I still elect an LSA concentration?
- Is it possible to transfer into/out of the RC?
- Do non-RC students live in East Quad?
- Is it possible to be in the RC without living in East Quad?
- Where is East Quad, anyway?
- I’m interested in a fraternity/sorority/clubs/etc. What about conflicts?
- What is the mission of the RC? The distinctive educational mission of the Residential College (RC) is to enable students to develop their intellectual interests and creative talents in an environment in which they can find their own voice and relate learning with doing. The RC faculty and staff challenge students to take the initiative in shaping their own education, to participate actively in classes and in extra-curricular programs, to think critically about what they are learning and reflect on what they are doing, and to engage with the University community as well as the outside world.
- How is the RC a part of U of M? The RC is an undergraduate program within the University’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts: therefore, all RC students must be LSA students. This means they are eligible, like all LS&A students, to take part in the Honors Program as well.
- Does the RC have grades? Yes, with a few exceptions. Grades were instituted in the RC in 2001, making the class of 2005 the last eligible to graduate under the former system of exclusively written evaluations. The only RC courses that aren’t graded are the Intensive I & II foreign language classes. RC courses, however, like LSA courses, may be elected Pass/Fail if they are not concentration courses.
- What are the requirements for the RC? In order to graduate from the RC, a student must:
– Live in East Quad for the first two years at U of M
– Complete an RC foreign language sequence (see Language/Proficiency FAQs for exceptions to this)
– Complete an RC First Year Seminar (FYS)
– Complete four RC courses beyond FYS and foreign language
– Complete one arts practicum course (not required to be an RC course)
– Fulfill all LSA requirements
- Who is eligible to apply to the RC? All students applying to LSA may indicate their interest in the RC program on their LSA undergraduate application
- Can I do both RC and Honors? Absolutely. Many RC students have been invited to join the Honors college at U of M, and we encourage you to take advantage of that opportunity; however RC students may not elect the option of Honors housing. The RC will work with you to find a schedule that accommodates both programs.
- Can I participate in any other Michigan Learning Communities if I am in the RC? Yes, but you can only participate in those that do not have a live-in requirement – UROP, CSP, Mentorship and Honors (see previous question.)
- What is the male/female ratio in the RC? The ratio of females to males in the RC (due to housing requirements) is about 2:1.
- Is there a tuition difference for the RC? RC students pay the same as other LS&A students.
- What is a First Year Seminar? RC First Year Seminars fulfill the first-year composition requirement for the university and are designed to be an introduction to seminar-style courses—students work closely with a faculty member and a small group of peers on a specific topic. Past topics have included a study of Nietzsche, philosophy, the role of disease in literature, theater production, or Indonesian culture. Each student is guided by their instructor to improve their writing skills and strengthen independent analysis.
- What is the foreign language requirement? All LSA students must complete the equivalent of two years of foreign language. RC Students take this one step further than their LSA peers. Within the RC, students take a proficiency examination for RC semi immersion language courses followed by a readings seminar. Please visit the Languages and Proficiency FAQ for more detailed information about the RC’s foreign language requirement.
- What is a living/learning community? A living/learning community is where fellow students live together in a residence hall and share some similar experiences—although the RC takes the concept much further than that. In the RC, students live among their peers, but they also live among classrooms, professors’ offices, studios, and a theater. The purpose is to immerse the students in learning, so they can spend as much time sharing ideas with peers as they do in the classroom.
- How many RC courses does the average student take? While this varies greatly depending on the selected concentration, RC students take an average of one-third to one-quarter of their entire course load with the RC.
- What is the average class size in the RC? The average class size for the RC is 15 students. This differs from the average LSA class, which tends to be much larger and is often taught in a lecture format. RC courses, due to their size, encourage seminar-style participation and extensive writing assignments.
- Do RC students have a lot of contact with their professors? With small classes, an emphasis on writing and discussion, and professors’ offices in East Quad, it is not unusual for RC students to develop a strong rapport with their professors. It is also not uncommon for students and professors to address each other by first name.
- What facilities does the RC have on-site? The RC, in East Quad, can offer its students: an intimate 155-seat theater, a ceramics studio, drawing studio, darkrooms for photography, a small art gallery, the Bensinger and a Community Learning Center. East Quad also supports normal residence hall amenities: laundry, two student dining halls, a snack bar, a computer lab and study lounges.
- What kind of reputation does the RC have? RC students are known for being active citizens with a passion for their studies and community. The RC attracts students from all backgrounds, creating the opportunity for real discussion. This aids in the development of engaged learners that are intrigued by global issues, social problems and immersion in foreign languages and cultures. Additionally, RC students are competitive candidates in the job market as well as graduate programs. RC students have a wide reputation for their strong writing skills, independence, and individuality.
- If I’m in the RC, can I still elect an LSA concentration? Yes. In fact, the majority of RC students have an LSA concentration.
- Is it possible to transfer into/out of the RC? Yes, like other LSA programs, students do have the freedom to change their minds, as there are many options at a large university. In order to transfer into or out of the RC, you’ll need to speak to one of our academic advisors.
Non U-M Students: We accept transfer students with 40 or less transfer credits.
- Do non-RC students live in East Quad? RC students make up about half of East Quad’s population; the rest are from other programs and schools within the U-M.
- Is it possible to be in the RC without living in East Quad? All entering students must live in East Quad as part of the residency requirement. East Quad is a desirable residence hall for many U of M students, given its proximity to central campus and the comfortable atmosphere.
- Where is East Quad, anyway? East Quad is located on the edge of central campus and is within a ten-minute walk of most of central campus. Click here for more information about East Quad.
- I’m interested in a fraternity/sorority/student group… RC students have been not only members, but campus leaders in student groups, student publications, fraternities & sororities, community service organizations, and performance groups. Note: Students who participate in a fraternity or sorority must still fulfill the RC’s two-year live-in requirement.
Learning a foreign language is vital to any liberal arts education—and one of the cornerstones of the RC.
“Intensive Spanish was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in my life—for a whole year, I had Spanish classes, Spanish activities—I even dreamed in Spanish. In eight months, I went from knowing two words to being able to communicate with Spanish-speaking people I’d known my whole life but never gotten to know…”
—Maggie Mitchell, RC ’06
Why foreign language anyway?
Learning a foreign language is an unparalleled way to open up the world. By learning to speak another language, realms of culture and experience become more relevant and meaningful. Learning a foreign language allows you to change perspectives, allowing you re-examine life as an outsider. Foreign language opens doors in business. It allows you to travel more extensively and more freely. It impresses other people. It’s fun.
What is the RC language requirement?
All LS&A students are required to take the equivalent of two years foreign language [Note: Students may place out of levels of the language based on prior experience.] RC students may elect from six RC languages: Spanish, French, German, Russian, Latin, and Japanese OR they may choose any language offered in the LS&A as long it is NOT one of the six offered in the RC.
For students in RC language, once they have reached the equivalent of two years of foreign language, they then must take a proficiency examination in their language to verify their skill level. Afterwards, all RC students, regardless of their language ability (including native speakers), must enroll in a language readings course, which takes the form of a literature seminar. So, in sum: to fulfill the RC requirement, students must meet the equivalent of two years foreign language (same as the LS&A requirement) and then complete an upper-level course in that language (an additional RC-specific requirement).
What is proficiency?
Proficiency is a measure of a student’s ability—proficiency is an indicator of a real language ability—not fluency per se, but sufficient that a student would be confident to travel in the country independently. The proficiency examination takes place after a student has finished their Intensive II course. It’s a multi-part exam, testing grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing, and impromptu speaking.
What is the immersion principle?
The immersion principle is essentially the idea to expose students—both passively and actively—to as much of the language as possible. With the exception of Latin, the language of instruction is the language being taught. All RC Intensive Language courses meet twice a day and are team-taught, exposing students to a variety of accents and styles. This means you’ll hear nothing but Spanish, French, Japanese, Russian, or German from day one on. Don’t worry—explanations take place in English and faculty are happy to translate for you.
Am I allowed to take a language outside of the RC?
If a student isn’t interested in studying one of the six RC languages but wants to be in the RC, he or she may, of course, take the equivalent of an RC language requirement in his or her desired language—4 semesters and a readings course. Proficiency exams are not required for languages not offered in the RC.
PLEASE NOTE: Students wishing to study French, German, Latin, Japanese, Russian or Spanish MUST enroll in RC intensive courses.