In the Admissions Office’s experience, most students from the UK do not have different or unusual transition issues or special advising needs. That said, students can take advantage of the strong support system in place for their academic, personal and social concerns. Full details can be found on the ‘Advising” page of the Harvard College website.
First-Year (Freshman) Advising
The goals of first-year advising are to help students make the transition from secondary school to uni, and to help sort out their educational experience. All incoming first-year students start out with a network of advisers who serve as the chief initial resources for academic and non-academic advice:
- First-Year Adviser – may be a faculty member, administrator, or graduate student. This person will assist you with many aspects of your academic experience, such as choosing courses, meeting your degree requirements, considering concentration options, or planning for the summer.
- Resident Dean of First-Year Students – Every first year dormitory is overseen by one of our Resident Deans of First Year (RDFs). Members of the Dean of Students Office staff, RDFs take care of the overall well-being of first-year students at Harvard College.
- Proctor – A Proctor is an administrator of graduate student who lives in your dormitory and acts as your resource for personal, residential, social and other issues. Each Proctor oversees an entryway community of approximately 20-40 students, and helps plan resident-based social activities.
- Peer Advising Fellow – A Peer Advising Fellow (PAF) is a Harvard undergraduate in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year who has been specially trained to offer assistance throughout your first year. They can give you advice on how to balance your curricular and extracurricular choices, how to face the challenges of transitioning to College life, and how to tap into College resources.
Second-year (Sophomore) advising
The goals of sophomore advising are to support students as they focus on their academic interests, and to help them make successful transitions into their Houses and their chosen concentrations.
- Sophomore Adviser – This Adviser will support you through two important transitions: into your House at the beginning of the 2nd year, and into your concentration half way through the year. The Adviser will help you select courses, choose your concentration, connect with concentration advisers, and will continue to provide you with guidance and support throughout the year.
- Concentration Advisers will help you to create an academic path within your chosen concentration. Every concentration takes a different approach to assigning advisers – most take a team approach where your department will assign a primary academic adviser but encourage you to also seek advice from a variety of sources, such as the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Head Tutor, or the Undergraduate Coordinator.
- House Tutors and Resident Dean: Every upperclass House has its own staff of advisers called resident tutors. House Tutors are hired for their expertise in certain academic and professional areas, while the Resident Dean tracks the academic progress of all students in residence.
Once a student declares a concentration at the end of the third semester, the concentration adviser assumes primary academic advising responsibility for the student.
Advising Network Portal
The portal is an online tool which displays a student’s formal network of advisers in one place, with photos and e-mail links. Students also use the portal to gain access to their course enrolment, placement scores, grades, and other information.