Rockefeller College will be central to your advising for your freshman and sophomore years, and even after you join an AB or BSE department, we'll still remain your non-departmental home for advising of all sorts.
Please take some time to look around at the academic and advising pages of this website to get a sense of the resources that the college and university provide for you. Sophomores may particularly want to look at the departmental Major Choices information; the pages on academic support and "how to" will be useful for everyone!
Special greetings to the Rocky class of 2016!
Getting started at Princeton...
While some of your friends may be registering for their fall courses over the summer, at Princeton you won't enroll in your classes until after you have the chance to talk with your faculty adviser and peer advisers. This way, you won't be making your decisions in a vacuum. We do, however, encourage you to start thinking about the kinds of things you'd like to study in your freshman year.
Here are some suggestions for planning a good freshman curriculum:
Try something new
Princeton offers an amazing array of courses, organized by departments and programs that may be totally unlike anything you've studied before. Your freshman year is a great time to try a new discipline, and the AB and BSE distribution requirements will help you broaden your horizons. If you want to continue some of the areas that you studied in high school, that's fine, but you should begin to explore other areas as well. You may find the perfect major by trying something new!
Try something small
Balance the type of course you take: it's important to make sure that you don't find yourself with a schedule that only includes large classes. A small class will not only ensure that you get to know a professor, but also that you have the chance to work closely with peers. If you're assigned a fall term Writing Seminar, you'll be guaranteed to have a class with no more than 12 students. However, if you're in a spring Writing Seminar, you may need to look around to find a small class. The Freshman Seminar program is a wonderful option: we encourage all students to take a Freshman Seminar either one or both terms--after all, it's an opportunity that you'll have only this year.
Keep an eye on requirements
If you're an AB student, the most important distribution requirement to keep in mind is the foreign language requirement. Remember to take the on-line placement test during the summer, since that may influence how many semesters of language study you need to complete. If you're starting a new language, or entering at the 100-level of a language you've already begun, don't be tempted to put it off! 101 courses are only taught in the fall, and you don't want to end up a year behind.
Otherwise, you have plenty of time to fill your distribution requirements. We encourage you to save a couple of distribution courses to take during your junior and senior year, when you'll enjoy the variety they provide. Distribution requirements shouldn't be the basis of planning your first semester courses--instead, focus on exploring academic fields that interest you!
Keep in mind the demands of your classes
AB students take 4 courses in the first semester; BSE students take 4 or 5. While this might seem like an unthinkably small number of classes, if you choose your curriculum well, you will be adequately challenged! As you're thinking about the balance of classes, consider the type of learning and kind of work: weekly problem-sets or response papers? A heavy reading load? A big project at the end? You'll want a mix.
If you're considering pre-med...
Be sure to attend the Health Professions Advising meeting during orientation. Depending on how strongly you feel about leaving options open, and on what AP credits you may have, you may want to get started on your pre-med coursework in your freshman year. There are many paths through the pre-health curriculum, so see which seems best for you.