The First-Year Experience
As a new Stanford student, there are many possible starting points for your undergraduate experience. Here are a few of the hallmark resources designed to help you navigate your first year at Stanford.
Undergraduate Advising Resources
At Stanford you will have access to a variety of on-campus advisors.
Academic Advising provides comprehensive academic advising and research opportunities that together enable you to chart your own educational journey and make the most of your experience at Stanford. As a first-year you will be able to make appointments with your Academic Advising Director (AAD), a residentially-based advisor assigned to all students living in your residence, to talk about which classes and interests you would like to pursue.
Additionally, Academic Advisors in the Specialized Advising Team are located on the first floor of Sweet Hall and focus on: pre-professional pursuits (pre-law, pre-med, pre-business, pre-education), transfer, returning or co-terminal students.
Freshman Academic Opportunities
As a new student, you will be encouraged to explore a variety of academic avenues. You will have the opportunity to take Introductory Seminars , small classes capped at 16 students, which are intended specifically for first-year students and taught by faculty from every school at Stanford.
Some examples of Introductory Seminars include:
- Howard Zinn and the Quest for Historical Truth
- Intracellular Trafficking and Neurodegeneration
- Eight Great Archaeological Sites in Europe
- The Data Scientist as Detective
Students are also encouraged to consider Frosh 101 , a discussion-style course designed to support you as you transition to Stanford’s dynamic campus.
In previous years, many students were only able to choose a Thinking Matters course during their first year, which focused on the development of critical thinking.
Recently, Stanford introduced a new first-year program called COLLEGE that replaced Thinking Matters. COLLEGE is not just about preparing students to make a living, but about exploring what makes living worthwhile. It’s also about acquiring the skills that empower and enable us to live together; in our own communities, in a diverse nation and in a globally connected society. Six COLLEGE courses will be offered this year. They include:
- Why College? Your Education and the Good Life—What is the purpose of college?
- Citizenship in the 21st Century—Who is (or ought to be) included in citizenship? Who gets to decide?
- Globally Queer—Have LGBTQ+ rights become a way for Western nations to once again set the standards by which others are judged developmentally deficient?
- The Meat We Eat—How do meat and animals fit into human society?
- The Politics of Development— How do we define development and how does it work (or not work) in practice?
- Environmental Sustainability: Global Predicaments and Possible Solutions— How do we balance the benefits of industrialization against environmental justice?
Building Community as a Frosh
Finding your community on campus is an integral part of the Stanford experience. Since being established, our community centers have provided physical spaces and programming for students to affirm and explore their identities, while building community with each other. Several centers and the offices offer special opportunities for first-years to engage with upperclassmen and/or faculty/staff.
Below is a list of frosh/transfer-specific programs that are hosted through our community centers.
- Asian American Activities Center (A3C): Asian American Sib (AASib) Program
- Bechtel International Center: International Student Orientation (ISO)
- Black Community Services Center (BCSC): Ernest Houston Johnson Scholars Program
- El Centro Chicano y Latino (El Centro): Community Programs
- First Generation and/or Low-Income Office: FLI-SO
- Native American Community Center (NACC): Stanford Native Immersion Program (SNIP)
- The Markaz Resource Center: Frosh Programs
First-Year Housing Preferences
First-year students are welcome to explore a variety of residential options. These include Academic University Theme Houses, Ethnic Theme Houses, and All-Frosh residential halls. Please visit our Housing & Dining page for more detailed information.Updated on July 21, 2022 10:46 AM