Academic Advising

Perhaps you already know what you want to study at Stanford. Perhaps you are weighing different alternatives. Perhaps you have no idea. Whatever the case may be, come to Stanford ready to ask questions and seek guidance. Your Pre-Major Advisor, Academic Advising Director, and Academic Advisor for Student-Athletes are the first of many people eager to help you along your way. Keep in mind that while advice will abound, the choices will be your own. Advisors can aid you in weighing competing priorities and identifying correct information in order to strengthen your decision-making process. Rarely will advisors tell you what to do, but they will help you reach the decisions that are right for you.

Your Pre-Major Advisor

Each new student is paired with two advisors, a Pre-Major Advisor (PMA) and an Academic Advising Director (AAD), who work together, but play different roles. Your PreMajor Advisor is a faculty or staff member who volunteers to mentor you and a handful of other freshmen or new transfer students from the point of your arrival on campus until you declare your major. PMAs serve in a variety of professional roles on campus and are the first of many mentors we expect you will find at Stanford. You will meet with your PMA during New Student Orientation and at least once per quarter until you declare a major (by the end of your sophomore year). Since they will get to know you well, PMAs are well-suited to help you understand the University and the sorts of opportunities you should seek out and are well-positioned to help you connect to those opportunities by introducing you to other faculty and staff around the university. They are not expected to know specialized information about course sequencing and placement: these are questions you should bring to your Academic Advising Director and your Academic Advisor for Student-Athletes.

Click here for more information about the PMA role and how they can help you during your freshman and sophomore year. By virtue of the fact that they are volunteers, you will find that the PMAs are some of the friendliest and most generous members of the Stanford community. To understand why PMAs wanted to advise incoming freshmen like you, see here.

Your Academic Advisors in Undergraduate Advising and Research

There are three different sets of academic advisors in Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR): Academic Advising Directors (AADs), Academic Advisors for Student-Athletes, and Academic Advisors in Sweet Hall. As a freshman, you will work most closely with your Academic Advising Director, who is a Ph.D.-level, fulltime professional UAR advisor with an office in your residential complex. AADs advise all undergraduate students and can assist with both routine and complex matters pertaining to academic requirements and policies, course selection and sequencing, investigating majors, research, fellowships, and post-graduate study. Your AAD will contact you by email in mid-August to begin the advising conversation with you. She or he will provide you with additional resources and invite you to ask questions about your academic plans prior to your arrival. During New Student Orientation, your AAD will present general guidelines, meet with you in groups, and offer drop-in appointments to answer questions about the classes you are planning to take in Autumn Quarter. Click here for more information about the AAD role and how they can help you.

Varsity athletes also work closely with Academic Advisors for Student-Athletes, UAR advisors who are uniquely qualified and trained to evaluate student athletes’ academic eligibility requirements as well as to help student-athletes balance their time commitments so that they can meet both their academic and athletic goals. They will contact student-athletes by email in mid-August and will meet with student-athletes prior to the start of classes.

Additional UAR advisors, including the Transfer Advising Coordinator, are located in Sweet Hall and are available during drop-in hours or by appointment. In addition to general academic advising, these advisors provide specialized advice regarding pre-professional interests (e.g., pre-law, pre-health, and pre-business). New transfer students will work most closely with the Transfer Advising Coordinator who will be in communication with transfers throughout the summer and offer advising appointments before and during NSO.