MIT: Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyClass of 2017

Advising: Types of Freshman Advising

Every MIT student has an advisor. There are two types of freshman advising: 1) Advising that involves credit (e.g. freshman advising seminars and some learning communities) and 2) Advising that offers no credit (traditional advising and some learning communities). These advising options are listed below for reference.

Freshman Advising Seminars (FAS)

Freshman Advising Seminars (FASes) are a special academic classes that combine advising and learning. Seminar leaders not only teach the 6-unit seminar, but also serve as the freshman advisor for students within the seminar. This unique combination means that students and advisors get to know each other very well as people, not just as students and teachers.

  • Seminars meet for 2 hours weekly during the Fall Term.
  • Seminars award 6 units of academic credit, but the size, style of learning, and pace are all diametrically different from other classes: no lectures, quizzes or p-sets.
  • Homework generally takes 2-4 hours/week.

Traditional Advising

Traditional Advising is distinct from Seminar-based advising because no academic credit is awarded for participating in a weekly seminar. The quality of advising and the role of the advisor for both is the same.

  • Traditional advisors typically meet advisees 2-3 times in both semesters.
  • In Traditional Advising, students tend to have fewer interactions with fellow advisees, although many Traditional Advisors do organize at least a couple of social events per year for their entire advising group.
  • Traditional advising generally takes up less time because there are no weekly meetings. This frees up space in schedules for other time-intensive pursuits, e.g., performance groups, varsity sports, student activities, or UROP.

Learning Communities

The first-year Learning Communities (Concourse, Terrascope, ESG, and MAS), all offer advising through either the seminar or traditional advising models.

  • Concourse: offers its own Freshman Advising Seminar through which all Concourse participants are advised.
  • Terrascope: Participants in the Terrascope community are enrolled in the subject 12.000 Solving Complex Problems, otherwise known as Mission 2017. One cannot participate in a freshman advising seminar and Terrascope.
  • ESG: participants have the option to choose either traditional or seminar advising.
  • MAS: participants also have the option to choose either traditional or seminar advising. However, MAS participants are encouraged to participate in one of several MAS Freshman Advising Seminars.

NOTE: Students are expected to remain committed and enrolled/participating in the seminar/community to which they are assigned 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.

If you have questions about or want to discuss advising, please write to: or contact Dean Donna Friedman, Freshman Advising, 617-253-6771.