Introduction to Choosing Courses

Take time to think deliberately about which courses you will take in any one quarter, while keeping the big picture of your undergraduate education in mind. Think about each class as a brick in the intellectual edifice you are creating for yourself. It needs to provide the foundation for future work as well as allowing you to build on what came before. In this way you will develop a personally coherent, meaningful education out of the diverse courses that Stanford offers.

  • Explore what interests you, even if you are unfamiliar with the discipline. Many of Stanford’s fields will be entirely new to you. Don't restrict yourself to areas you've already experienced.
  • Figure out what fields, topics, approaches, and faculty appeal to you personally. Don't rely on the experience of others.
  • Develop an understanding of the multiple potential pathways to your specific destination. Don't follow "tracks" blindly; for instance, medical schools do not dictate the exact sequence of science prerequisites or desirable majors.
  • Balance your workload. A mix of essays, exams, and projects is generally more sustainable than taking a full slate of classes that all demand the same sort of work.