Tutorial Pays Off

First-Year Tutorial article cover pagesI read with interest your story about the First-Year Tutorial in the Fall 2021 issue. When I enrolled at Grinnell College in 1972, it was called the freshman tutorial. I did not know until I read the story last fall that the tutorial had begun just a year earlier, in 1971. Fast-forward about 35 years. Despite my liberal arts education, in my early 50s I applied for and was awarded a job managing power plants for a large electric cooperative. Deciding that I needed to know more about power plants, I applied for admission to an online associate degree program in power plant technology at a community college in North Dakota. I submitted my Grinnell College transcript and was exempted from all the general education requirements except one — freshman composition. No such course appeared on my Grinnell College transcript, so I was told I would have to take freshman composition to improve my writing skills, despite my bachelor’s from Grinnell College, my master’s, and various successfully completed career-related writing assignments. After learning of my situation, Margaret Bogie ’76 sent me a copy of the 1971 Grinnell College Catalog page that contained a description of the freshman tutorial. I submitted that page to the community college registrar and was then exempted from freshman composition. I successfully completed the degree and continued to manage power plants until my retirement in 2019. Thank you, Grinnell College freshman tutorial, for getting me exempted from freshman composition 35 years later.

Author Info: 
Rick Lancaster ’76
St. Paul, MN
United States
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