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August 8, 2022
Photo of Stanford Main Quad (Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero, Stanford News Service)

Dear 2022 Transfers,

Each August as Summer Quarter winds down, Stanford gets ready for the new academic year by refreshing the Bulletin, ExploreCourses, and Axess, along with websites, policies, and processes. It's always exciting to see what's in store for the upcoming year and to start to think of Stanford as your new home!
Today's Newsletter details courses offered by VPUE. Over the next few weeks, various other offices at Stanford will begin reaching out to you to share assignments and information, so please be sure to check your Stanford email regularly and complete any action items as requested. 
Phishing Email: However, as you begin to hear from different campus offices, we would also like to raise your awareness of email phishing attempts. Please note that Stanford offices and faculty should never ask via email or text for your login, password, or any bank account information. Contact Approaching Stanford if you are unsure about an email you've received. You can report phishing to Stanford IT.
Read on in this week's Newsletter for:
Have a great week, and, as always, let us know if you have questions or want to talk!
Approaching Stanford Team
(650) 723-7674
Profile photo of Vice Provost Sarah Church (Photo credit Linda A. Cicero, Stanford News Service)

From the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Dear 2022 Transfer Student,
At Stanford, you will fully realize a liberal education - an academic journey that broadens your knowledge and awareness in the major areas of human knowledge, and one that significantly deepens understanding of one or two of these areas. A Stanford education uniquely prepares you for lifetime learning and application of knowledge to your own life and to the well being of society.
This balance between depth of knowledge acquired in specialization and breadth of knowledge acquired through exploration is achieved through Stanford's General Education Requirements - including the Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing Requirement, in which students choose courses in eight distinct but connected categories - and by the requirements set for major fields of study.
Through the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education office (VPUE), Stanford offers unique courses to students that help you fulfill your General Education Requirements. These foundational courses, which challenge you to think critically and to develop your analytical and communication skills, are found in all our programs, including the Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) and Introductory Seminars (IntroSems). This is both an exciting time and one that merits experimentation. I encourage you to see these required and elective courses, along with Transfer 101, as an opportunity to explore different fields and subjects that you may not have had the chance to study previously.
If you have any questions about the VPUE courses described in this email, I encourage you to contact the programs introduced below. You may also seek advice from the Undergraduate Advising Director for Transfers.
I wish you all the best and look forward to meeting you at New Student Orientation in September. Until then, have a great summer!
Sarah Church
Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
The Pritzker University Fellow in Undergraduate Education
Professor of Physics

Your Guide to Introductory Seminars (IntroSems)

Want to experience something new? Ready to try on some different stripes or spots? Then be bold and make IntroSems part of your Stanford education!
IntroSems are small discussion-based and unit-bearing elective classes of 16 students taught by renowned research faculty and expert instructors from all seven schools at Stanford and designed specifically for frosh and sophomores. IntroSems are learning and exploration communities formed around shared intellectual and creative interests on a particular topic—well suited to dipping your toe in a potential major, meeting a faculty mentor early in your college career, and exploring your new surroundings with new friends who share your sense for academic adventure. Several IntroSems satisfy Ways general education requirements and all IntroSems are accessible regardless of prior background. With almost 200 IntroSems offered in 2022-23, you will have many opportunities to try something wild and unexpected this year!
Only first-year, sophomore, and new transfer students are able to request priority enrollment in IntroSems through a simple application process before registering for other classes. IntroSem faculty build their classes from the short statement of interest you submit. Admitted students are automatically enrolled, high-demand seminars may have waitlists, and those that do not fill through advance sign-ups open to self-enrollment later. If your schedule changes, you can drop an IntroSem.
The complete listing of Sophomore-preference IntroSems, which give priority enrollment to new transfers will be available starting August 15th at Explore IntroSems. Browse IntroSem course descriptions and read welcoming comments from the faculty who teach them. Refine your search by quarter, department, Way, or big question. Then, exercise your priority by applying for up to three IntroSems each quarter in the IntroSems’ VCA.
For Autumn IntroSems, be sure to apply for priority enrollment by September 6th. Course status will be released during NSO.
In the coming days, watch your mail for the new IntroSems field guide with all the details and deadlines you’ll need to be bold this year…
Questions? Join the conversation on the IntroSems Q&A Board in Canvas.

Writing and Rhetoric Requirement & PWR

The Stanford Writing and Rhetoric Requirement was created to allow students to develop greater sophistication in conducting inquiry and producing scholarly work in progressively more specific disciplinary context. There are three writing requirements: WR-1, WR-2, and WIM. WR-1 and WR-2 are typically fulfilled with PWR 1 and PWR 2 (respectively), while WIM classes are offered within the major. PWR offers a wide variety of PWR 1 and PWR 2 courses -- with themes ranging from technological change, to global leadership, robots, activism, and the rhetoric of medicine. Check out our online catalog to browse our offerings. 
You can check your PWR quarter assignment here. To find out more about taking PWR, visit our PWR Enrollment site. A couple of weeks before your assigned quarter, you'll receive an email inviting you to rank your section preferences. For more information, visit the PWR website.
Unsure about your PWR placement in relation to the work you’ve done at your previous institution? Your Transfer Credit Evaluation will indicate whether you need to take PWR 1 and/or PWR 2. If you believe you have fulfilled the WR-1 or WR-2 requirement and would like to request a re-consideration of your transferred coursework, please reach out to the Undergraduate Advising Director for Transfers, Alice Petty. Please note, it is extremely rare that prior coursework will fulfill WR-2.
If you have questions about PWR specifically, email the PWR office at pwrcourses@stanford.edu.  

Transfer 101

Your Stanford education will include learning more about who you are and who you want to be in this new social, cultural, and academic environment. This new journey can be very exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. At Stanford we believe that no one can succeed alone, and we hope you will learn that the quality of the relationships you build with peers, faculty, and staff will help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
Transfer 101, now entering its fourth year, is designed to support you as you transition to Stanford's dynamic campus. The course is a 2-unit seminar in which upper-class transfer students will lead a group of new transfer students through weekly activities and conversations. This class focuses on your growth and development both in and out of the classroom, as well as provides space for you and your peers to show up authentically and support each other. Our Transfer 101 leaders will share their experiences and insights.
Given the overwhelmingly positive feedback from students who have taken Transfer 101 in the early years, this seminar is offered to all incoming transfer students every fall so that you can take it with members of the transfer community. All interested students are welcome and encouraged to enroll.
If you have questions, email frosh101program@stanford.edu or join the Frosh & Transfer 101 Q&A Board in Canvas.

Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing (Ways) Requirement

The Ways is an integral part of your General Education Requirements and Stanford's breadth system. You'll be building your own custom toolkit with a set of intellectual skills. Undergraduate students are required to complete 11 courses in 8 Ways. Refer to the Ways Credit Chart for Incoming Transfers to determine how many Ways you must complete at Stanford. Based on the number of transfer units you enter with, you will need to complete a defined number of Ways courses at Stanford as part of your undergraduate requirements. In ExploreCourses, look for "UG Reqs" at the end of each course description for Ways-certified courses.
Ways aims to develop certain capacities - ways of “thinking” and “doing” - that are explored in a broad range of departments. Altogether, Ways will provide you with a well-rounded intellectual toolkit to use here at Stanford and to take with you when you graduate. The Ways requirement includes: 
1. Aesthetic and Interpretive Inquiry (AII) – 2 courses. Learn interpretive and analytical skills to explore and understand cultural and artistic endeavors. Courses can be found in the areas of study such as history, philosophy, literature, the arts, and other cultural practices.
2. Applied Quantitative Reasoning (AQR) – 1 course. In AQR, you’ll apply analytical and numerical tools to problems that are important in understanding the world and our role in it. AQR courses typically include assignments where you’ll be asked to manipulate data and use inductive reasoning to solve problems using computational or statistical software.
3. Creative Expression (CE) – 1 course. Here, you’ll be “doing” something creatively, giving expressive shape to ideas, and communicating those ideas imaginatively—these skills are indispensable to Creative Expression. Fields include product design, the visual arts, creative writing, dance and musical and dramatic performance.
4. Exploring Difference and Power (EDP) – 1 course. Now more than ever, an awareness and understanding of difference is crucial. By gaining knowledge about difference and power, you’ll enhance your ability to respond to cultural challenges in a global world. Many EDP courses are available in English, History, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, just to name a few areas.
5. Ethical Reasoning (ER) – 1 course. What counts as right and wrong action? What are valuable qualities of human character? ER courses will help you examine these types of questions, learn how to analyze ethical issues, and draw conclusions. Courses may be found in a variety of departments including Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Religious Studies.
6. Formal Reasoning (FR) – 1 course. You will develop, understand, and manipulate numbers/symbols based on formal rules while sharpening your logic and deductive reasoning skills. This will strengthen your ability to respond to the challenges posed by an increasingly complex and data-driven world. You might fulfill FR by taking courses in Math, Science, Engineering, Linguistics, or Philosophy. 
7. Scientific Method and Analysis (SMA) – 2 courses. Scientific literacy is critical to complex problem-solving and touches on many aspects of human life. You will learn to analyze and synthesize scientific information about the natural and physical world, understand the limitations and strengths of existing theories, and ask strategic questions and assess empirical evidence. SMA courses can be found in the natural, physical, and earth sciences, social sciences or in engineering. 
8. Social Inquiry (SI) – 2 courses. SI courses focus on probing questions that are of a social nature (i.e. pertaining to social arrangements, human behavior and forms of social, political and economic organization). You’ll find courses in social sciences, History, Psychology, Economics, Linguistics, and in other disciplines such as Comparative Literature, Engineering, and Religious Studies.
Sound like a lot? Don’t worry! With more than 3,000 Ways-certified courses, it's not difficult to fulfill your Ways and you don't need to dive in immediately. For example, most COLLEGE and many Introductory Seminars satisfy a Way. You design your own roadmap, so explore broadly and develop or discover your interests! Learn more about Ways at ways.stanford.edu.

Advising Corner: "Ask An Advisor" & Placement Assessments

Thank you for the excellent questions you have asked our Undergraduate Advising Directors (UADs) on the "Ask an Academic Advisor" Q&A Board in Canvas! For those of you who haven’t visited it yet, this is a great place to ask us the many questions we know you all have. So keep them coming - we are excited to answer them. And don’t forget about the Academic Advising website, which is another wonderful place to get answers to your questions

Placement Tests & Diagnostics

All the placements tests and diagnostics offered by Stanford departments are now open and, if you are considering enrolling in any of these subjects this year, we encourage you to take the relevant test/diagnostic. These include Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Languages. (If you are not considering enrolling in Chemistry, Physics, Math, or related subjects this year, you do not need to take the diagnostics/tests.) 
As a reminder, your placement test/diagnostic results will be private - only the relevant departments will see them, and they never appear on your transcript. No matter what your high school preparation, taking a placement test/diagnostic can help you make sure you enroll in a class that’s at the right level for you, neither too easy nor too hard. 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. Taking the placement test/diagnostic does not commit you to enrolling in any of the courses.
If you will take them, plan to complete the tests and diagnostics by the end of August, so you can discuss your results with your academic advisor and begin planning your Autumn schedule. For Chemistry in particular, the introductory courses (Chem 31A and 31M) are only offered in the Autumn. 
Photo of the six OCs wearing NSO caps with the 2022 NSO logo (Photo credit: NSO)

The OC Zone & New Student Thursdays

The OCs are getting ready for NSO! Here is the last set of blog posts from your lovely Orientation Coordinators (OCs):

OC Blog

New Student Thursdays
This week, the OCs will be chatting with you about Extracurriculars at our weekly webinar.  All are welcome, Find the Zoom link in Canvas and join us!
Contact Us
Office of Academic Advising
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
590 Escondido Mall | Stanford, CA 94305-3085 US
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