The Sanctity Of My Berklee Catalog Year

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
Berklee registration manual cover spring 2014

(Photo credit: Berklee.)

As I was figuring out everything that would transfer into Harvard Extension, I looked at my Berklee transcripts for the first time in many years.

I called the registrar’s office to check if it mattered that some of my CLEP credits were listed as transfer credits.

It didn’t. But while I was talking to someone in the office, I found out that you only get to keep your catalog year if you’ve attended Berklee within the past four years!

(“Keeping your catalog year” means being held to the same requirements that were in place the year you started college.)

They hit me with the news, “If you don’t come back this spring, your four years are up.”

I came out here for America’s Got Talent 4 years ago? Oof. It surprised me in the moment to hear that so much time had passed.

Okay. So, I might lose my catalog year. What’s the big deal? There are often only tiny changes, if any.

So… what changed?

10 (that’s right TEN) more liberal arts credits are now needed. Oh Berklee. What are you doing to me? I wish I would’ve known about this and thought about this, and maybe some summer taken a class or two to keep my precious, precious catalog year. (In the summer, you’re allowed to go part time without any special concessions.)

I know that since I’m now trying my hand at Harvard Extension, you might be wondering, “What do you care? You’re not going back to Berklee anyway.”

But I wanted the option! Some things I love about Berklee are that once you’re in, you’re in for life. Also, you can get a Bachelor of Music at Berklee, even if you have a bachelor’s degree from somewhere else.

Berklee registration manual fall 2013

(Photo credit: Berklee)

If I finish at Berklee first, I can no longer make a decision to go get a BA or BS.

I like Berklee a lot. It’s an excellent school. I love music. I love a lot of the amazing professors I had. There is so much wonderful stuff to be said about Berklee.

I didn’t want to leave forever.

I always imagined that when I moved back to New York, I’d take classes at Berklee and eventually finish. I never want to stop learning. And I certainly never want to stop learning about music.

I just didn’t realize it would be SO long until I moved back east… [*sigh*]

Okay, so 10 more liberal arts credits. What’s that really? Well, that’s almost a whole extra semester! (The minimum full-time semester load at Berklee is 12 credits.)

Yeah, but can’t you just CLEP out of them, or transfer them in from somewhere else, as you did with all your other liberal arts classes at Berklee?

No.

Berklee registration manual cover spring 2010

(Photo credit: Berklee)

My understanding is that 3 could be clepped in, but 7 (seven!) are Berklee specific.

Apparently this huge change in the curriculum occurred for the students entering in 2010. I left in spring 2010 and didn’t really pay any attention to Berklee developments for people entering that year.

(After all, I was already in. Plus, I had a lot of personal stuff going on.)

I refuse to add seven more credits of liberal arts classes at Berklee. My stance is basically I figure out a way to keep my catalog year – or I don’t finish at Berklee.

I immediately started thinking of how I was going to hold onto my precious, precious catalog year. And we’ll get to those fun hoops to jump through tomorrow.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?