Academic Advising at Stanford
What are UADs and how can they help me?
Stanford offers a wealth of intellectual opportunities, both in and out of the classroom. Undergraduate Advising Directors (UADs) are professional academic advisors who will help you take full advantage of all that is available as you create your own unique path through your undergraduate career. These advisors include:
- Your primary UAD who will be assigned to you for your first year at Stanford, and
- Specialized UADs who will support your pre-professional goals and more.
UADs for frosh will be assigned in mid-August after housing assignments have been finalized and after Explore Courses, Stanford's course catalog has been updated for the upcoming year. At that time, you will receive an introductory email from your UAD inviting you to sign up for small group advising meetings.
Advising at Stanford may be different than academic advising as you have experienced it to date. Your academic advisors are not just a source of practical information. Rather, we’re here to help you figure out how to get the most out of your Stanford educational experience.
You can talk with your UAD about:
- your interests,
- potential courses to take,
- why people study what they study,
- how to choose a major – and what a major even is,
- how to build good academic habits and manage time,
- how to connect with faculty,
- what it means to do research at the university and how to get involved,
- how to plan for life or school beyond Stanford, and much more.
We can help you figure out what you should be asking when you aren’t even sure! And we are here to let you know about all the amazing resources at Stanford that you might not even know exist. Because there are a lot of resources and opportunities here, and no one expects you to know what they are before you even get here.
What do I need to do right now? When do I enroll in courses?
In future advising-focused newsletters, we will detail specific resources to help you get started planning your first quarter – and first year – at Stanford. But for now there is nothing you need to be doing in terms of academic planning. Stanford is on the quarter system, which means our academic year won’t begin until late September. Explore Courses, Stanford's course catalog, won't be updated for the upcoming year until mid-August, and frosh won't be able to enroll in courses until you arrive on campus for New Student Orientation (NSO). For now, spend time with family and friends and enjoy the summer.
Why is there a New Student Advisement Enrollment Hold on my Axess account?
This enrollment hold was placed for all new students when you accepted admission to Stanford. There is nothing you need to do at this time; the hold is intended to remain on your account for the summer. For frosh, the hold will automatically be released during NSO, at which time you can begin enrolling in classes. If you have been receiving daily email reminders about the hold, you can log into Axess and change your Email Notification Settings under your Profile.
What will my education look like at Stanford?
We'd like to talk today, in broad strokes, about the liberal education you will pursue here at Stanford. There are many models of undergraduate education out there. Some colleges and universities have a strict set of requirements that include specific courses you must take. Others let you take almost any course you want. Stanford’s educational philosophy falls somewhere in the middle. While you need to choose a major and have an intellectual focus, you cannot take all your classes in just one area. Stanford requires you to develop breadth across many subjects. Here’s how it is explained in the Stanford Bulletin (Stanford's official catalog of courses, degrees, policies, and University and degree requirements):
As do all major universities, Stanford provides the means for its undergraduates to acquire a liberal education, an education that broadens the student's knowledge and awareness in each of the major areas of human knowledge, that significantly deepens understanding of one or two of these areas, and that prepares him or her for a lifetime of continual learning and application of knowledge to career and personal life. (Stanford Bulletin, Undergraduate Degrees and Programs, Overview)
"Liberal" here isn’t a political designation. Rather, it means “free and unconstrained.” More specifically, a liberal education is meant to provide students with the knowledge and skills to be productive, engaged members of a free society, able to adapt to a changing world and practice free thinking. Stanford puts it this way in the Bulletin:
The General Education Requirements are an integral part of undergraduate education at Stanford. Their purpose is to introduce students to the intellectual life of the University, to foreground important questions, and to illustrate how they may be approached from multiple perspectives. They are intended to develop a broad set of essential intellectual and social competencies of enduring value no matter what field a student eventually pursues. […] Together with the major, the requirements serve as the nucleus around which students build their four years at Stanford. (Stanford Bulletin, Undergraduate Degrees and Programs, General Education Requirements)
At Stanford we believe that this breadth, alongside your major and a number of elective courses of your choosing, will prepare you for the dynamic, exciting, and challenging world of the 21st century. And your academic advisors will be here throughout your undergraduate years to help you not only complete your requirements, but to help you understand them and reflect on their purpose as you put together your own Stanford education.
Introductory Advising Video #1
Now that you've had a chance to reflect on what it means to engage in a liberal education at Stanford, we invite you to watch the first of three introductory advising videos. In this video, learn about the ways that your Academic Advising Team can support you not just in getting started, but across your entire undergraduate career.