Ezra Serrins
Ezra Serrins, MPP Class of 2023

Ezra Serrins, MPP Class of 2023, shares some advice on getting the most value out of your academic experience at Harris. 

Harris coursework, especially the Core classes you take during your first two quarters, are intended to push you to think about problems in new ways. While Harris courses can be challenging—and at times it may feel overwhelming—by giving each subject an honest effort, you can get the most out of your courses.

Some specific tips for this include:

  • Make connections in your Core courses. Most assignments in the Core are group work, and most allow you to pick your own group. Use this as an opportunity to develop friendships and grow together. Your go-to study group during the Core can be your friend group as well and a valuable source of short and long-term professional connections.
  • Practice both conceptual and applied skills. In the Core, both the Statistics sequence and the Analytical Politics sequence emphasize both theory and how to apply skills in practice. Class sections will usually focus on theories, while homework assignments and TA sessions will focus on practical applications of skills (i.e. coding, writing memos, etc.). 
  • Think about how your electives will build on your Core experience. During the spring quarter of your first year, you will transition from the structured Core experience to having flexibility to choose the electives that most interest you. When you do, it’s important to think about your academic (and career) interests as well as how your elective courses will build on the classes you took in the Core. For me, I took a sequence on R Programming and another on Program Evaluation, because these both built on stats—my favorite class in the Core. 

 I hope these tips help you maximize the value of your Core and elective classes, both during and after your time at Harris.

If you enjoyed reading this post, check out this throwback post from Jordan Graham, MPP’21, on his experience taking Statistics for Data Analysis I.