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August 22, 2022
Photo of Stanford Tree mascot in Green Library (Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero, Stanford News Service)

Dear Parents & Guardians,

We hope you've been well! Thank you for your patience - this second email from Approaching Stanford comes later than we had initially planned. (You can read the first newsletter online.) With the University's August 8 message to students about Stanford's fall COVID guidance, we wanted to ensure that our plans for Move-In, New Student Orientation, and events for families aligned with the guidance. We're happy to share that we are excited to welcome students and any/all accompanying family members to campus in September!
In this issue of the Parent and Guardian Newsletter, we introduce you to Academic Advising at Stanford, along with featured courses and intellectual opportunities designed specifically for our first-year students. We hope that in learning about our approach to advising and academic exploration in the first year, you will be able to have meaningful conversations with your student and support them as they explore their academic interests at Stanford. 
Read on in the Newsletter for:
If you have any questions, please contact us and we'll be happy to help!
Approaching Stanford Team
(650) 723-7674
You have received this email because your student provided your contact information on their Approaching Stanford Forms, which were due June 13. If a parent or guardian in your family did not receive this newsletter, please ask your student to send an email to approaching@stanford.edu with the name and email address and we will add them to our distribution list for upcoming newsletters. Thank you!

Academic Advising at Stanford

The Office of Academic Advising is dedicated to welcoming our new students to Stanford and helping them feel at home here; encouraging them to explore the full intellectual richness that Stanford offers; helping them reflect on their choices and determine how to make the most of their Stanford experience; and supporting them in pursuing their goals, both personal and academic. A Stanford education is designed to prepare your student for lifelong learning, to gain the intellectual skills they will need in any career they may ultimately pursue, and to develop the ability to engage meaningfully in addressing the needs of our increasingly complex world.
This is not simply our work; we regard it as our privilege. It is an honor to be among the first people on campus to help launch these extraordinary students on their Stanford journeys.

First Steps 

Although we know that all our students come to Stanford academically well-prepared, we also work with your students to manage the transition from high school to college. We know from experience that this process unfolds gradually as students encounter new experiences here: their first set of final exams, first quarterly grades, first forays into undergraduate research, and so on. Most of these “firsts” are exciting, but some can be challenging and may shake a student’s self-confidence. We know, and we want you to know, that it is entirely normal for students to experience some setbacks and disappointments along with their joyous moments. We encourage students--and we hope you will encourage them, too--to seek advice, cultivate resilience, and remain open to changing course if their initial goals have taken them down a path that is proving to be problematic or unfulfilling. We know, too, that many incoming students feel some pressure to decide on a major early on. Please know that at Stanford, students are not required to declare their major until the end of their sophomore year. We encourage them to use their first year or more to explore the amazingly diverse curriculum of the University, and refrain from committing to a single path until they are clear that it is the right one for them.

Academic Advisors 

All first-year students are assigned a professional Academic Advisor, an “Undergraduate Advising Director” or UAD.  For most incoming students, their primary UAD will have his or her office in their residence hall, or a nearby dorm in their neighborhood. Varsity athletes are assigned to one of our UADs for student-athletes (all former collegiate athletes themselves) whose offices are located in the Athletic Academic Resource Center (AARC), in Arrillaga Hall. In most cases, this same advisor will be assigned to your student beginning now until they graduate. Finally, we have an additional group of UADs who specialize in pre-professional advising (mostly pre-med and pre-law) whose offices are on the first floor of Sweet Hall. Students typically don’t make appointments with these specialized advisors until somewhat later in their time at Stanford, though they offer information sessions that might be of interest to beginning students.
First-year students will be required to communicate with their UAD who sent an introductory email to them last week. Academic advisors are your student’s primary resource for helping them think about course exploration and selection, required courses for particular majors, issues related to AP credits, research opportunities, and all other academic policy and registration-related issues. Course registration for new students will open during NSO and they will be able to enroll in their Autumn Quarter courses at that time. We encourage all students to continue consulting with their UAD early and frequently, especially during this first year; we hope you will encourage them to do so, as well. Think of academic advisors as your student’s personalized GPS system for navigating Stanford throughout their time here.

Our philosophy of advising

Because academic decisions are ultimately a student’s own, advisors will rarely tell students what to do, but together they will provide students with the information, perspectives, and guidance they need to make well-informed and well-reasoned decisions. We will sometimes counsel students toward or away from certain choices, but we ultimately respect their autonomy and recognize that they need to “own” their own educational, as well as personal, decisions.
We know that you, too, have goals and aspirations for your student. We hope that you will adopt this philosophy, as well—offer them your advice and experience, and then empower them as young adults to make their own decisions. Parents and families play a critical role in your student’s success, and we encourage you to have a conversation soon with your student about how you and they will manage this major transition in their lives (and yours!).
Photo of academic advisor giving an NSO talk (Photo credit: NSO)

Course Enrollment Timeline

New students have a "New Student Advisement" Enrollment Hold on their accounts that will be released during New Student Orientation (NSO), at which time they can begin to enroll in their Autumn courses.
This enrollment hold ensures that all new students engage with academic advisors to complete the following academic planning components in preparation for choosing their first courses at Stanford:
  • Watch the Summer Introductory Advising Presentation: Exploring Your Stanford Courses (mid-July);
  • Attend a virtual small group advising meeting with their assigned UAD (mid-Aug to Sep); and
  • Move to Stanford and attend NSO, including the NSO Advising Presentation (Sep 20-25).
Undergraduate Advising Directors (UADs) contacted their assigned students by email last week and invited them to sign up for a virtual small group advising conversation. In preparation for this advising meeting, students should not only watch the summer advising presentation, but also browse ExploreCourses 2022-23, the official listing of all courses offered this year, review the Student Advising Handbook and additional advising resources, check their email for course/quarter assignments to fulfill the first-year COLLEGE and Writing & Rhetoric requirements, and complete the 2022 Academic Planning Worksheet. We expect new students to have many academic questions about Stanford and these first advising conversations will be the ideal time for them to share these questions with their advisor.
For more about advising and academic planning for new students, click here.
IntroSems graphic with

Introductory Seminars (IntroSems)

Introductory Seminars (IntroSems) present first and second year students with the unique opportunity to learn in small, discussion-based classes taught by premier research faculty from across the University, including the professional schools. IntroSems help students meet faculty mentors and peers with shared intellectual interests. Students can explore a field or potential major through focused classes that provide valuable hands-on learning. These classes often mix classroom sessions with local field trips to Silicon Valley industries and to world-class Bay Area theaters and museums. Seminars may fulfill both general education and department requirements. We have found that students who enroll in an IntroSem during their first year are more likely to conduct research projects, participate in Stanford’s overseas programs, and graduate with honors. Encourage your student to apply by September 6 for one or more of these extraordinary small classes. For a glimpse inside some seminars and an overview of the simple sign-up process, check out the Be Bold field guide to IntroSems and review the Explore IntroSems catalog.
Photo of Frosh 101 section (Photo credit: VPUE)

Frosh 101

At Stanford we believe that no one can succeed alone, and we hope that our students will learn that the quality of the relationships they build with peers, faculty, and staff will help them achieve their personal and professional goals. To support the transition to Stanford’s dynamic campus, first-year students have the special opportunity to enroll in Frosh 101, a residentially-based Autumn Quarter 2-unit seminar in which two upperclass students lead a group of first-years through weekly conversations and activities that build community, strengthen friendships, develop healthy habits, and reflect on values and goals. Talk with your student about enrolling in this course, and encourage them to develop these important skills needed to thrive at Stanford.
Photo of Dr. Liz Hadly (Photo courtesy of Liz Hadly)

Three Books 2022

Three Books is Stanford's signature common reading program for undergraduate first-year and new transfer students. Each year, a faculty moderator carefully selects a theme and books/media for incoming new students to read and discuss with each other. The program culminates in discussions with the authors and guests during NSO and Autumn Quarter. The 2022 Three Books theme is Biodiversity. To learn more about this program, read faculty moderator Dr. Liz Hadly's letter to students introducing the Three Books.
Photo of Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaking at Stanford in 2017 (Photo credit: Aaron Kehoe, Stanford News Service)

Food for Thought

"I think that’s the only way I know how to live life in a meaningful way. To become who you are and to do the work you want to do is to be open to want to learn and give at the same time.
I figured out first how to be a generally informed citizen before I tried to be a specialist in anything else. And that’s the advice I would give all of you who are experiencing college. Take courses in areas that [..] might make you a more knowledgeable person. Curious people go further.” - Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, speaking at Stanford in 2017
Orientation Volunteers holding

Move-In & New Student Orientation

We are excited to welcome students and families to campus in September! Move-In Day for new students is September 20 and New Student Orientation (NSO) will take place September 21-25, 2022. All first-year students are required to live on campus and attend the in-person NSO.
We invite parents and families to join us at Move-In and the first day of NSO. All are welcome; you will not need tickets to attend, and we will not be checking guest vaccination records. However, if you are feeling ill on those days, we ask that you refrain from coming to campus. Please note that guests arriving from international travel are expected to take a Covid test prior to coming to campus.
Move-In Day, Tuesday September 20*: Check-in will begin at 8:00 a.m. at the Neighborhood Housing Front Desks where students will pick up their Stanford ID cards and room keys. (Students will need to show a goverment-issued ID.) All students should pick up their keys by 5:00 p.m. There is no formal campus programming on this day; parents and families accompanying their students are welcome to arrive any time between 8am to 5pm and to take the time you need to help your student get situated. From 4:00-5:00 p.m., Resident Fellows and their student staff will host receptions in the dorms to greet students and families. After moving in, you may wish to take your student off campus for dinner and errands. Please note students should begin sleeping in their dorm rooms on this night.
NSO, Wednesday September 21: Parents and families are invited to join us for the first day of NSO. The day will begin with the Opening Convocation Ceremony at 10:00 a.m. in the morning, followed by open houses and welcomes throughout the afternoon. Plan to say your goodbyes before dinner so that students can join their dormmates for their first dinner and House Meeting together (required). We know many families will not be able to visit Stanford this fall, and we look forward to welcoming you to campus in the future.
*Pre-Orientation Programs: Some students will arrive early to participate in pre-orientation programs. For on-campus programs (FLI-SO, Ignite, ISO): students will move into their dorm when their program begins. For off-campus programs (SNIP, SPOT), students will move into their dorm when they return to campus on Sep 20. While keys should be picked up by 5pm, students have the remainder of the day/night to move in and unpack.

Stay Connected

Visit our Stanford Families website regularly to stay informed about programs, resources, and events. Once the academic year begins, you will receive the Stanford Parents & Guardians Newsletter as well as other important updates from the University.
If you have any questions or concerns about your student during the academic year, please contact our Parent & Family Help Line at (650) 725-0649 or mykidis@stanford.edu. We will be happy to help you!

Upcoming Summer Newsletters

Stay tuned for Approaching Stanford Newsletters for parents and guardians this summer on the following topics:
  • August/September: Campus Communities and Life on the Farm
  • September: Moving to Stanford (Move-In Instructions)

Contact Us

Office of Academic Advising
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Follow @approachingstanford on Instagram
590 Escondido Mall | Stanford, CA 94305-3085 US
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