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Advising

Academic Advising

Academic advising of undergraduates in the A.B. program is centered in the six residential colleges. The dean and director of studies in each college have primary responsibility for the academic advising of freshmen and sophomores and for the non-departmental academic advising of juniors and seniors, whether or not they continue to reside in the colleges. Every freshman in the A.B. program is assigned to a faculty adviser who assists with course selection and other academic matters throughout the year, and who normally continues as the student's adviser through the sophomore year. Freshmen in the B.S.E. program are advised by faculty members in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Each B.S.E. sophomore is assigned an adviser whose area of specialization matches the student's area of interest. In the upperclass years, all students are advised by members of their academic departments who also supervise their junior and senior independent work.

All students are encouraged to make full use of the academic resources of the University and to seek advice on specific academic matters from professors and departmental representatives in their particular areas of interest. The masters, deans, directors of studies, and directors of student life in the residential colleges are available for academic advising and for counseling about matters pertaining to other aspects of undergraduate life. Each college also has a group of peer advisers who are available to advise freshmen and sophomores about academic issues. The staff of the Office of the Dean of the College is available for discussion of academic questions or problems, and the staff of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students is available for discussion of questions about undergraduate life outside the classroom.

Residential College Advisers

Every year approximately 80 students are selected to serve as residential college advisers (RCAs) who live in each of the six colleges. Under the supervision of the college masters and directors of student life, the RCAs are responsible for advising freshmen and sophomores on many aspects of University life, including those related to diversity and multiculturalism. RCAs are assigned approximately 12 to 15 freshman advisees, whom they assist in their adjustment to the University. They are also available to sophomores who wish to seek the counsel of an older student. While the RCA is immediately responsible for the first- and second-year students in his or her advising area, he or she also works as part of a small adviser team in order to combine adviser's strengths and give the students a choice of advisers in whom to confide. During the year, RCAs are expected to initiate a variety of activities, to facilitate friendships among advisees, and to foster a safe, inclusive, and welcoming community within the college. Through programming and counseling efforts, the RCA also promotes the community's sensitivity toward the experience of underrepresented groups, as defined by ethnicity, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and other personal characteristics. RCAs are familiar with University resources and can refer students to appropriate people and offices as necessary.

McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning

Princeton is a community of teachers and learners, and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, located on the third floor of the Frist Campus Center, is a resource for all undergraduates, as well as graduate students and faculty. The center offers workshops and individual consultations to support undergraduates as they make critical academic transitions, confront new academic challenges, and develop as learners. Workshops focus on processes of learning and individual consultations assist students in designing integrated sets of strategies that enable them to take full advantage of lectures, precepts, and readings.

McGraw's Study Hall @ Frist offers academic support in a number of introductory courses with a quantitative emphasis. Experienced, trained undergraduate tutors are available four evenings a week to guide students through learning strategies for course material, thinking through problem sets and the concepts underlying them, and preparing for exams. Study Hall also provides a good space for study groups to meet, or for informal group work with classmates.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center offers student writers free, one-on-one conferences with experienced fellow writers trained to consult on assignments in any discipline.

Located in Lauritzen, the Writing Center welcomes all Princeton students, including: undergraduates working on essays for courses; juniors and seniors working on independent research projects; international students not used to the conventions of American academic writing; graduate students working on seminar papers or dissertations; students writing essays for graduate school applications or fellowships; and students crafting oral presentations.

Writing Center Fellows can help with any part of the writing process: brainstorming ideas, developing a thesis, structuring an argument, or revising a draft. The goal of each conference is to teach strategies that will encourage students to become astute readers and critics of their own work. Although the Writing Center is not an editing or proofreading service, fellows can help students learn techniques for improving sentences and checking mechanics. Writing Center conferences complement, but do not replace, the relationships students have with their teachers and advisers.

Appointments may be scheduled online.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) provides a full spectrum of mental health care and outreach services for students (and their eligible dependents) so that they may fulfill their learning goals and developmental aspirations. Such care and services are offered to our diverse community in a responsive, welcoming, and confidential setting. CPS clinicians provide support, facilitate growth and creative expression, help identify and solve problems, and enhance academic and athletic accomplishment through the alleviation of psychological and emotional distress and the development of greater self-understanding. In so doing, CPS supports the University's goal of creating conditions that promote intellectual curiosity, active citizenship, ethical leadership, and respect for differences.

CPS offers a range of confidential, time-sensitive psychological and psychiatric services that attempt to balance the unique needs of individual students with the broader demands of a diverse campus community. Service offerings include psychological evaluations; short-term psychotherapy, and referrals; psychopharmacological assessment and medication follow-up; on-call services; campus psychoeducation and community consultation; and urgent care assessment and intervention. In addition to direct clinical services, CPS also seeks to promote mental health and well-being through outreach activities, partnerships, and consultations with faculty, staff, parents, and many campus agencies. CPS is part of University Health Services (UHS) and is located on the third floor of McCosh Health Center, (609) 258-3285. More information is available at the CPS website and on the CPS facebook page.

International Students

Princeton welcomes students from around the globe. Currently, students from more than 95 countries are enrolled at the University. The Davis International Center (Davis IC) is the primary resource for International students and offers specialized support including immigration advising and resources to assist with cultural and practical adjustment issues. Davis IC programs and events offer opportunities to develop social connections and gather information that will help students as they settle into life at Princeton. The Davis IC also coordinates the annual international student orientation designed for first-year students from abroad. After matriculation, the staff of the Davis International Center works closely with academic advisers, the residential college staff, the Financial Aid Office, and other related University offices to continue to provide support for students as they transition into the University community. For more information, visit the Davis IC.

Career Services

Staff members in the Office of Career Services assist undergraduate and graduate students and alumni in exploring their career-related interests and developing effective strategies when searching for summer or permanent employment, seeking admission to graduate schools, or changing careers. In addition to individual counseling, the staff conducts and hosts an assortment of workshops and industry panels to prepare students to effectively pursue post-college goals. Additional services include: career and self-assessment inventories and computer-assisted career exploration programs; the hosting of business, law, and other graduate school admissions visits to campus; information on corporate and nonprofit organizations; an On-Campus Recruiting Program for current undergraduate and graduate students seeking summer and permanent employment; sponsorship of career and graduate school fairs; access to alumni through the Princeternship career exploration program and the Alumni Careers Network; and online internship, fellowship, and employment listings. Additional resources and guides for a variety of post-graduation options are available through the Career Services website.

Advising for Major Fellowships

Responsibility for advising for major fellowships rests with the director of fellowship advising, who is located in the Office of International Programs. Designated faculty members and administrators are available to counsel students who are interested in applying for the Churchill, Dale, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Fulbright, Gates, Goldwater, Hertz, Labouisse, Luce, Marshall, National Science Foundation, Rhodes, Rotary, Sachs, Truman, and other scholarships or fellowships. All except a handful like the Dale, Labouisse, and Sachs, which are available only to Princeton seniors, are awarded on the basis of national competition. Applications are generally made early in the fall of the senior year, except for the Rotary fellowships, for which students in any year may apply; the Goldwater scholarships, which are available to sophomores and juniors; and the Truman scholarships, which are available only to juniors. Further information and the names of the advisers for each fellowship are available from the Office of International Programs.

Preparation for Teaching

The Program in Teacher Preparation, 41 William Street, provides information and advice on the numerous pathways to enter teaching at the secondary level, in both public and private schools. Students should visit the office or consult the program's website for information about Princeton's undergraduate program and the courses required for certification to teach in the public schools.

Students considering teaching either as summer interns during college or full time after graduation should confer with a program staff member. Information on a wide range of teaching opportunities is available and the office provides workshops to help students find teaching jobs. Seniors should inquire at the office for information on job opportunities.

Preparation for Graduate Study

In general, for admission to a Ph.D. or academic master's degree program in a particular discipline, candidates must show scholarly distinction or definite promise in their undergraduate studies in that discipline or in a closely related one. Moreover, as fields of study become more interdisciplinary in nature, applicants from a relatively wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds may be encouraged to apply. (Check directly with the department or program.) Graduate programs normally require official transcripts of all prior undergraduate and previous graduate work, three letters of recommendation from faculty who know the applicant well, a detailed statement of academic purpose, and scores from the Graduate Record Examination General Test. Individual departments may additionally require scores from a relevant subject test. International students whose native language is not English may be asked to take and submit scores from an English language test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or may be required to submit a "proficiency in English" form. Students applying to joint Ph.D. and professional school programs may also be asked to take the GMAT or LSAT, or other similar exam. Many programs also require a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language. Increasingly, graduate admissions committees require, in the case of humanities and social science disciplines, samples of the applicant's written work and, in the case of science and engineering disciplines, evidence of prior research experience.

Students intending to pursue graduate studies should seek guidance from faculty advisers and departmental representatives early in their undergraduate careers, preferably in their sophomore year as they consider their choice of major, and certainly no later than the beginning of their junior year.

Preparation for Law School

The staff in the Office of Career Services maintains extensive information on law schools, including requirements for admission, scholarships, joint degree programs, and specializations. Prelaw programs include fall and spring orientations, guest lectures, panel presentations, admission representative visits, and individual counseling sessions with the prelaw adviser.

A database of alumni volunteers in the legal profession (Alumni Careers Network) is maintained by Career Services for those students who wish to speak directly with practicing lawyers about their law school experience and/or legal careers.

Admission to the better-known law schools is highly competitive, and a strong scholastic record is desirable. Because there is no specific "prelaw" course of studies, students may pursue their own academic interests. Applicants are urged to review the "Prelaw" material under the Graduate School section of the Career Services website.

Preparation for Business School

The Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is a professional degree that provides course work and training in a variety of business disciplines. Most full-time MBA programs are two years. While there are a number of institutions that offer the MBA, the more competitive universities do not commonly accept applicants without several years of relevant post-undergraduate work experience.

Business schools do not require a specific undergraduate course of study. However, they do place value on well-developed oral and written expression, and demonstration of analytical and quantitative abilities. Applicants should also possess experience gained from internships, study abroad, fellowships, or post-college employment.

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is required for many schools, and students often take the exam at some point in their senior year. The score for this test is valid for a period of five years, and there are official test centers throughout the world where the test may be administered. It should be noted that the test measures skills and abilities that have been developed over time. Because there is some emphasis on verbal and quantitative abilities, students should consider these factors as they plan their academic curriculum.

Students considering an MBA should make use of the individual counseling, library resources, panel presentations, and admission representative visits that are available at Career Services. Additional business school information can be found in the Graduate School section of the Career Services website.

Preparation for Medical, Dental, and Veterinary School

The Office of Health Professions Advising encourages all students who are considering a career in the health professions to familiarize themselves with the resources of the office as soon as possible. A strong application will demand careful planning, both of one's curriculum and one's academic year and summer activities.

Health professional schools require for entry a set of science courses that must be taken, regardless of major:

  • Chemistry 201(207)-202 (or only CHM 202 if one unit of AP)
  • Organic Chemistry: Chemistry 303-304
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 211 and Molecular Biology 214 or 215
  • Physics 101-102 or 103-104
  • Biochemistry: Molecular Biology 345

Students with advanced placement in any of the areas above should contact their dean or director of studies about possible substitution.

In addition, two semesters of English (which may also be comparative literature or literature in translation) and two semesters of mathematics are often required. For detailed information about course requirements, please see "Preparing for a Career in the Health Professions," which is available as a handout in the Office of Health Professions Advising and on its website under "Pre-health Basics." Some health professional schools have unique requirements beyond those stated above, so all pre-health students should meet with one of the advisers at HPA early on in their college years to discuss both academic and non-academic preparation.