Advising Meetings 


The Office of the First Year has identified several times blocks, especially since that we have students across time zones, to meet with your associate advisor and advisees. The first group meeting and the individual registration meetings are opportunities to lay the groundwork with your advising group.

  • Suggested first group meeting: Monday, August 24 (12-1pm or 4-5pm) or Tuesday, August 25 (9-2pm) 
  • Suggested individual registration meetings: Tuesday, August 25 (9-2pm) and Wednesday, August 26 (9-2pm) 

First Group Meeting: 

  • Explain that your role as their academic advisor is to listen, support and help them figure out their academic and personal goals. 
  • Set expectations of their responsibilities to you as their advisor, (e.g. prompt response to emails,meeting together (even if remotely) and how to address you. 
  • Encourage students to be in touch with you when they begin to experience, even seemingly minor difficulties. 
  • Ask your associate advisor to get your advisees' cell phones, emails and time zones. 
  • Select times of individual registration Zoom meetings. 

Suggested Discussion Points and Questions: 

  • What are your impressions about MIT (e.g. academic, social and cultural), even if you have not been on campus? 
  • What are your academic interests? What are you considering as a major? 
  • What do you think academics will be like at MIT, as compared with high school? 
  • How do you think that you will adapt to virtual learning? 
  • Do your overall schedule and your class selection work for you? 
  • Stress importance of developing strong organizational and time management skills, particularly in the temporary virtual environment. Will you be watching lectures synchronously, asynchronously or a combination? 

Individual Registration Meetings: 

  • The individual registration meetings with your advisees are intended for you to get to know one another and to register your advisees for fall classes. You can schedule these Zoom meetings starting August 24. All first-year students must be registered by Thursday, August 27 at 5pm. 
  • If possible, please try to complete your advisees’ registration on August 26. 
  • Incorporate your associate advisor into the conversation; They can offer advice from the student’s perspective. 
  • The student should take a balanced course load (e.g. 3-4 technical subjects and an appropriate CI or HASS subject, or a Discovery class). 

Take-Aways: 

  • Encourage students to ease into MIT life before committing to extracurricular opportunities, UROPs, etc. 
  • Talk about the appropriate use of Pass/No Record grading as an opportunity to adjust and explore without the pressure of grades or GPA. 
  • Stress the importance of responding to emails and invitations by MIT offices and departments, advisors, professors and TAs. 
  • Use the information provided in the online First Year Folder to properly register students for core classes. (i.e. AP, The Math Diagnostic for Math andPhysics). 
  • Check seminar schedules for conflicts with selection of classes

After Registration 

  • Meet with your students at least twice a semester. In the Fall, meetings will be remote. 
  • Engage in an ongoing holistic conversation with your advisees about their transition to college; weighing options, identifying interests, values, wellness, reflection and resilience. 
  • Develop a relationship with your students in which they will feel they can trust you, and that will require being a careful listener and asking good questions. 
  • Encourage students to be in touch with you when they begin to experience difficulties. 
  • Inform students and the OFY if you are planning to travel. An OFY Consultant can look after your advisees while you are away. 

Creating a welcoming MIT community: A note on Pronouns 

Part of being inclusive of all the identities of our students, including trans-identified students, is ensuring that we are using the pronouns with which they identify. When speaking or writing about someone, you may have used “he/him” or “she/her” to refer to that person, but there are other pronouns that people may use. For example, some students use the singular “they/them,” which is considered a gender-neutral pronoun. 

The easiest way to determine your advisee’s pronoun is, when you introduce yourself, include a brief” … and my pronouns are…”, which opens the door for students to share their own pronouns. You can also help normalize this practice by using it in your classes and meetings with new people and by adding your pronouns to your email signature. One way to make sure you get the correct pronouns is to say, “I want to be sure I use your correct pronouns; would you mind telling me which pronouns you use? 

Fall Check-In: Finding Balance 

  • Set up meetings with each of your advisees around the second week in October, when first week flags start going out to first-year students. 
  • Ask how they are adjusting to MIT, and what challenges they may have faced. 
  • Touch on sleep, food, exercise and extra-curriculars. 
  • How are they managing stress? Their academics? What is their favorite class? 
  • Ask about making friends, going to office hours, getting to know faculty. 

Winter Check-In: Exploring 

  • The first-year is a great time to explore majors and minors, but also to try out new disciplines. 
  • Discuss your advisee’s plans for the spring and summer, as well as long-term goals. 
  • Encourage them to take Discovery classes that introduce them to majors that they are considering. 
  • Talk to them about taking on new experiences to expose them to ideas and information about majors and careers. 
  • Invite your advisees to think about ways in which they can make MIT a holistic experience. 

Spring Check-In: Selecting a major 

  • MIT students are expected to either declare a major or to become an “undesignated sophomore”by the end of April of the first-year. 
  • Assure your advisees that choosing a major is not permanent. Many people pursue careers that are unrelated to their undergraduate major. 
  • Provide guidance about decision-making and exploration rather than directing them to the ‘best’ or ‘most ‘practical’ major. 
  • Ask what topics pique their curiosity. Which are their favorite classes? What information will help them decide? How do they plan to get answers?