MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For Associate Advisors
The First Year at MIT

Advising Fundamentals: Organizing Academic Programs in Dorms

If you live in a dorm, you are responsible to provide support and academic resources for all freshmen in your dorm. By being an active part of residential programming, you are strengthening the support network that freshmen have and contributing to a richer first-year experience.

Associate Advisor Steering Committee

The Associate Advisor Steering Committee connects associate advisors to the freshmen living in their dorm. It is made up of associate advisors who represent every dorm on campus. Members are responsible for leading and collaborating other associate to provide an in-house support system and after hour academic resources for freshmen.

Under the direction of the UAAP's Associate Advisor Steering Committee, you are responsible to provide support and academic resources for all freshmen in your dorm. This includes collaborating the other associate advisors in your dorm to plan one academic program per semester.

If you live in an FSILG, you are not expected to organize academic programs in your residence, since all freshmen live on campus. Instead, you should get to know the freshmen who are affiliated with your organization and connect them to academic resources and the people who can support them in their respective dorms.

Collaborating with Associate Advisors

There is no pre-selected number assigned to each dorm. Some dorms have as many as 20 associate advisors, while other may have only 1 or 2. The AA Steering Committee member appointed to your dorm will contact you over the summer to introduce themselves and inform you of who the other AAs in your dorm are.

You are expected to communicate with the other associate advisors and meet periodically to establish how you will support the freshmen in your dorm. This might include postering UAAP and other academic events in strategic locations in your dorm or emailing the freshmen about upcoming programs and deadlines. Some associate advisors have sent out an electronic newsletter to their freshmen during the semester.

Planning Academic Programs

The programs that you organize must have an academic component. Even if the event is 'making smores', there must be academic benefit for the freshmen. Some associate advisors have collaborated with their Housemasters and Area Directors to use study breaks as program opportunities.

Funding for programs is provided for by the UAAP and coordinated by the AA Steering Committee member appointed to your dorm. It is advisable to provide food at events and have handouts available.

Programs ideas include p-set parties, major or career fairs, exam preparation, and information on campus resources. Some associate advisors have invited a guest speaker or a faculty member to present of have dinner with the freshmen. If you are a TA or major in one of the departments of a GIR, you might offer tutoring in a specific class.

Successful programs market effectively. This includes coming up with a catchy title that captures the program's theme. Planning ahead by selecting a date/time that does not conflict with classes, important dates or sports is also important. You must consider how you will advertise the program (i.e. email, Facebook, posters etc.) and how far in advance.