First Year Advising
At MIT every undergraduate has an advisor. As an upper-level student you will be assigned an advisor in your major, but as a first-year, your advisor may be a faculty or staff member from any department.
In addition, most advisors team up with an associate advisor (academic peer mentor), an upper-level student, who brings an undergraduate’s perspective to the advising process.
Deciding on which advising option is best for you depends on how you plan to “spend” the 54 units, plus 6 discovery-focused units of academic credit you are limited to in the first-term of your first year. Please review this section for details on your advising options, which students apply for online June 1-June 15.
Advising with a credit component is most typically handled through participation in either:
- An advising seminar (either in a general area or department of interest – most are 3 units).
- Participation in a Learning Community. The Terrascope Learning Community involves taking the special 9-unit subject 12.000 – Solving Complex Problems. The Concourse learning community has a specific seminar for their participants and participation in the Concourse seminar is required. The DesignPlus learning community also has a specific seminar for their participants and participation in the DesignPlus seminar is required. Participants in the ESG community have the option to choose to advising via FAS (for-credit) or traditional (non-credit) advising.
Benefits of the for-credit advising option include:
- It’s a special academic class that combines advising and learning. Your seminar leader not only teaches the 3-unit seminar but also serves as your advisor for your entire first year. This unique combination of teaching/advising enables you to really get to know your advisor and advising group during regular two hour weekly meeting during the Fall semester.
- Seminar size, style of learning, and pace are all diametrically different from your other classes: no lectures, quizzes, or p-sets. Seminars meet for 2 hours weekly during the Fall term. Homework generally takes 2-4 hours/week.
- Your advising group will include an upper-level student Associate Advisor, who brings the experienced student’s perspective. As an advising group, you will have the opportunity to participate in at least a couple of social events a year.
- NOTE: You are expected to remain committed and enrolled/participating in the seminar/community for the entire fall semester.These groups are “teams” just like a varsity team, so dropping out affects the quality of the experience for your fellow advisees and advisor just as it would teammates or a coach.
Advising with no credit component is through participation in either:
- Traditional Advising, which awards no academic credit, but provides the same level of advising as those enrolled in a seminar.
- Participation in some Learning Communities. Since Terrascope students are also automatically registered for the class 12.000 – Solving Complex Problems, they are traditionally advised. Participants in the ESG learning community have the option to be advised by a traditional advisor, if non-credit advising is preferred.
Some benefits of the non-credit advising option include:
- You will meet with your traditional advisor 2-3 times in both semesters.
- You and the other first-years matched with your advisor will form an advising group that includes an upper-level student Associate Advisor, who brings the experienced student’s perspective. As an advising group, you will have the opportunity to participate in at least a couple of social events a year.