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Philomathean Society's Wine Tasting class in College Hall 400. Credit: Jennifer Liao

This semester’s preceptorials have something for everyone, from the intellectually-minded to those seeking something more personally engaging, according to the Preceptorials Committee Chair and Engineering and College junior Nancy Wang.

Preceptorials are small non-credit seminars led by faculty members and organized by students that take place three times over the course of the semester.

Annual offerings include President Amy Gutmann’s seminar on leadership and the sought-after Wine Tasting preceptorial for seniors.

New options this year include The Anatomy Behind the Cirque du Soleil and Mad Potter’s Wheel, a class on how to make pottery.

The seminars are designed to increase student-faculty interaction outside the traditional classroom setting, Wang said.

College sophomore Aashna Puri had similar reasons for signing up for preceptorials.

“I may not have taken a class on pottery, but this preceptorial would offer me the opportunity to explore a new dimension in a more interactive stress-free environment,” said Puri. “They allow a freer interaction with professors without the burden of grades and class participation.”

College sophomore Ashley Bernard signed up for six preceptorials, including The Anatomy Behind the Cirque du Soleil.

“I picked [this preceptorial] because I love performance art, and although I’ve already seen Cirque du Soleil three times, it’s impossible to tire of,” she said.

The deadline to apply for a place in a preceptorial this semester was Feb. 1. Students selected for a preceptorial will be notified of their enrollment statuses in about two weeks, according to Wang.

“Selection is entirely random,” despite the common perception that knowing someone on the committee increases a student’s chances of getting a place in a preceptorial, according to outgoing preceptorials committee member and College senior Timothy Pian.

“We try and make it as fair as possible,” he said.

Selection is therefore based on a random lottery system after advanced registration takes place on Penn InTouch.

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