If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.

July 27, 2023
Photo of Tree mascot in Green Library (Photo: Linda A. Cicero, Stanford News Service)

Dear Class of 2027 and Transfers,

Hello and welcome to the second of our three dedicated Academic Advising newsletters this summer! We hope that you have found time to relax and to reflect on your journey so far, though we know how excited you are to begin the next part of your Stanford journey. It is with that in mind that your academic advisors have written this week's newsletter. While there is not much to do yet in terms of course planning, (since 2023-24 course listings will not be published until mid-August,) placement assessments for some subjects will open on August 1 and we wanted to offer some guidance. Our "Ask an Academic Advisor" Q&A Board is also now open in Canvas - feel free to post your questions and your friendly neighborhood advisor will repond!
Read on in the newsletter for:
Have a great week and reach out if you have questions!
Approaching Stanford Team
(650) 723-7674

Advising Introductory Video Series:

Exploring Your Stanford Courses

Choosing courses in high school and in college are often pretty different. For many of you, your high school courses were assigned: you had a course in math, a course in English, a course in science, etc. And if you are coming in as a transfer, you may have had fewer choices in fulfilling requirements. But at Stanford, you’ll have the freedom to choose what you want to take each quarter. And even though you’ll have requirements (General Education Requirements, major requirements, etc), it will be up to you to decide what you want to tackle and when. This freedom can be amazing– but we also understand it can feel overwhelming sometimes.
To help you get started choosing your first set of courses at Stanford, your academic advisors, called Undergraduate Advising Directors (UADs), have created a series of advising introductory videos called “Exploring Your Stanford Courses.” Click here for the full video series. (If you are unable to access Google, you can watch the videos in Canvas.) These videos guide you through topics such as how to find courses in the fields that interest you, how to explore major requirements, how Stanford courses are structured, how to use and understand ExploreCourses (our course catalog), and much more. We know you have questions– these videos are here to start giving you answers. 
Advising Video #4: We have already introduced the first three videos this summer. Our fourth video, Demystifying Stanford Courses, is now available. In this video, we explain how Stanford courses work: how courses are structured, what course numbers mean, what your grading options are, what a course "unit" is, and how many units you should enroll in total. As a reminder, the 2023-24 course listings are not yet available, but this is a great time to familiarize yourself with what to expect. For frosh: your assigned advisor will reach out on August 21 by email to begin the advising conversation, and you will enroll in Autumn courses at NSO in September. For transfers: you have already been meeting with the Transfer UAD and can enroll in Autumn courses beginning August 30.

Academic Advising Website

Be sure to make good use of our website: advising.stanford.edu throughout your time at Stanford. 
The website has several different sections listed in the top menu to bookmark. (Frosh: please note that you cannot book advising appointments just yet - wait until your UAD reaches out on August 21.)
 We encourage you to start in the "Current Students" section for:
  • Choosing Courses: Frosh-friendly intro courses, choosing courses for your potential major, exploring your General Education Requirements, and more
  • Advising Student Handbook: Not sure what graduation requirements are? Wondering if you should take a class for Credit/No Credit? Trying to get AP or transfer credit? Curious about what undergraduate research is and how to get started? Come here for frequently asked questions and more.
  • My Stanford Story: Real-life student experiences of your Stanford peers, professors, and academic staff. Learn from your fellow students and see how they navigated choosing a major, finding their community, being first-gen/low-income (FLI) at Stanford, coming to Stanford as a transfer student, being a student athlete, and more.
If you are considering pre-med, pre-law, or other pre-professional tracks, you may also want to explore the "Beyond Undergrad" section for useful advice on planning for medical school, law school, business school, etc.
There is a lot to dive into on this website! Explore at your own pace. This resource, along with your academic advisor(s), will be here for you during your time at Stanford. 

Course Placement Assessments

Some of you may be wondering what you can be doing this summer. In that spirit, consider taking one or more of the placement assessments offered this summer. They can assist you in determining the most appropriate course to begin with at Stanford. While most language tests are available online now, the assessments for Chemistry, Math, and Physics will open on/around August 1. Note that taking the associated placement assessments is required if you plan to take courses in math, physics, or chemistry this year.
For more, see the following departmental information - some webpages will be updated on/around August 1:
We know the idea of taking a test or diagnostic may sound intimidating. And some of you may be able to transfer in AP Credit, IB Credit, or other college-level course work. But no matter what your high school or pre-Stanford preparation was, taking a placement assessment can help you make sure you enroll in a class that’s at the right level for you, neither too easy nor too hard. Your placement results will be private: only you and the relevant departments will be able to see them; they do not appear on your transcript. So don’t be afraid to take them – think of them as a useful tool to help you figure out what the next step in your learning journey should be.
Moreover, taking a placement assessment does not commit you to enrolling in the recommended course. Your results are valid for one academic year and will offer you appropriate guidance should you decide to take the course during the year. So even though you don't know at this time what courses you want to take across the year, it’s generally a good idea to take the placement tests over the summer, just in case. The school year at Stanford can be fast and furious, and though you might be able to take placement assessments prior to winter or spring enrollment, you may find it difficult to do in the midst of midterms, essays, and other assignments, not to mention your extracurriculars. Take your placement assessments now and your future self will thank you!
For more information from Approaching Stanford, see "Placement Tests & Diagnostics" in the Canvas course.

Pre-Med & Pre-Health Advising

Did you know that in addition to the Undergraduate Advising Directors (UADs) in your neighborhood and UADs for student athletes, Academic Advising has a team of full-time advisors who specialize in working with pre-med/pre-health students? For our course recommendations and to learn more about how to navigate being pre-med at Stanford, watch this short video.
For pre-health announcements and information, join the pre-med 2027 mailing list and Pre-Med Canvas where we'll post information, resources, and opportunities throughout the year. In the meantime, please look forward to our Academic Planning Session at NSO.
Once the academic year begins, you can schedule virtual or in-person advising appointments with the Pre-Med/Health Advising Team and look out for pre-health program announcements throughout the year.
Photo of Stanford students jumping (Photo: NSO)

The Successful Student

We advisors often get asked, “What’s the secret to Stanford success?” That’s a big question, but here’s our fundamental answer: the successful students are the ones who make use of their resources. In our experience, folks who are successful don’t do it on their own. Instead, they rely on friends and family, on teachers and tutors, and on their community broadly. And while Stanford has many resources to support your success, here are some key academic resources to keep in mind once you arrive on campus – in addition, of course, to your Undergraduate Advising Directors!

Office Hours 

The first resource is both one that is simultaneously the most present in each of your courses, but one that students often don’t make enough use of: your instructors. In college, your instructors – your professors, lecturers, teaching assistants, etc. – are not just there to talk at you. Rather, they are there to help you to understand the often very complex material. And they will hold Office Hours where they hope you will come to ask questions, to seek clarification, or to just introduce yourself. 

Academic Tutoring and Coaching

Stanford’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) provides subject tutoring for many of the introductory course sequences, such as Math, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, and Languages. CTL also offers Academic Skills Coaching, where you will work with an “academic trainer” not on a specific course, but on your study skills and habits in general. An Academic Skills Coach can observe your strategies and techniques, suggest changes to your approach, and help you navigate challenges with time-management, test anxiety, and more. Even students who are doing well in their classes tell us how valuable their coaching sessions are.
Alongside CTL is Stanford’s Hume Center for Writing and Speaking. The Hume Center can help you with any of your writing assignments, from going over a writing prompt when it is first handed out, to helping you edit a final draft. They also help with oral and visual presentations.

Resources for students with differential learning needs

Stanford’s Office of Accessible Education (OAE) is the campus office designated to work with Stanford students with disabilities (temporary and long term). OAE provides a wide array of support services, accommodations, and programs to remove barriers to full participation in the life of the University.
Photo of the Stanford Dish at sunset (Photo: Linda A. Cicero, Stanford News Service)

Academic Exploration at Stanford

Why you don’t need to know your academic path yet  

As your advisors, we'd like to talk about academic exploration. For many of you, your academic paths up to now have been pre-defined: every term you take an English class, a math class, a science class, a social studies course, etc. But this all changes when you get to Stanford. Though Stanford has requirements, as we mentioned earlier, there are always multiple options available for fulfilling those requirements. And you get to choose what classes you want to take, what requirements you want to fulfill when, and the best way to fulfill those requirements. There is also no rush; you have 4 years to fulfill your graduation requirements, and many students spread them out across their time at Stanford.
So, as you are considering particular courses, possible majors, and your own academic path, we want to highlight two important points. First, exploration is not only good, but expected. Stanford wants you to both deepen existing interests, and find new ones. Second, and just as important, is that you really don’t have to have a major at this point. (Frosh have until the end of their sophomore year to declare, and transfer students have until the end of their first year.) There are many possible roads to intellectual and professional success, and the best path for you might be one that you haven’t even heard about yet.
Whether you know exactly what you want or have no idea where to start, Stanford encourages you to explore widely. And the university has set up its academic requirements so you’ll have the opportunity for that exploration. There will be a lot of time to think about and talk about major choices over the next two years. So keep an open mind, and come to campus ready to discover the many different areas of study that Stanford offers.

"Ask an Academic Advisor" Q&A Board in Canvas

You don’t need to know all the answers right now. But generating questions is always a great thing to do. While frosh won't know your assigned advisor until August 21, you can start asking general questions to the entire academic advising team via our "Ask an Academic Advisor" Q&A Board in Canvas. This Q&A Board will be open today, July 27, through August 18.

Coffee Chat with OC Alondra: Thursday

Your Orientation Coordinator Alondra will be hosting a Coffee Chat today, Thursday July 27 at 2PM PT!
Come join our Zoom and talk with Alondra about Stanford and her interests in: coffee on campus, academics, political science, communications, Hume Center, The Daily, SWIP, and dorm life.
The Orientation Coordinators (OCs) have been posting all summer on Instagram and on the OC Blog. If there's something you want us to talk about, contact us via Slack in the "Class of 2027 & Transfers" space or email approaching@stanford.edu.

Quick Links

Frosh Requirements
Transfer Requirements
To Do in Axess
Upcoming Dates & Deadlines
Academic Advising Links
Approaching Stanford Resources

Contact Us

Office of Academic Advising
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
590 Escondido Mall | Stanford, CA 94305-3085 US
This email was sent to approaching@stanford.edu. To ensure that you continue receiving our emails, please add us to your address book or safe list.

manage your preferences | opt out using TrueRemove®.

Got this as a forward? Sign up to receive our future emails.
powered by emma