Academic Advising and Academic Resources

Academic Advising

Academic advising of undergraduates in the A.B. program is centered in the seven residential colleges. The dean and assistant dean for studies in each college have primary responsibility for the academic advising of first-year students and sophomores and for the non-departmental academic advising of juniors and seniors. Every first-year 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 sophomore year. First-year students in the B.S.E. program are advised by faculty members in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. B.S.E. sophomores are advised by faculty members in their academic departments. In the upper-level 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 directors of undergraduate studies in their particular areas of interest. The heads of college, deans, assistant deans for studies, and assistant deans for student life in the residential colleges are available for academic advising and for consultation about matters pertaining to other aspects of undergraduate life. 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 90 students are selected to serve as residential college advisers (RCAs) who live in each of the seven colleges. Under the supervision of the heads of college and directors of student life, RCAs are responsible for advising first-year students and sophomores on many aspects of University life, including those related to diversity. RCAs are assigned approximately 12–20 first-year 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 RCAs are immediately responsible for the first- and second-year students in their advising area, they also work as part of a small adviser team in order to combine advisers' 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 mentorship, 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.

Peer Academic Advisers

Peer Academic Advisers (PAAs) foster academic community in the residential colleges by offering academic mentorship and programming to first- and second-year students. PAAs are affiliated with RCA groups for first-year students and serve an important role assisting with the academic transition of entering students. Representing a variety of academic paths at Princeton, PAAs offer advice to students in their colleges about selecting courses, creating a balanced schedule, exploring potential majors, and taking advantage of academic resources. Peer advisers are part of the advising community at Princeton, and their student experiences complement the advising available from faculty, the residential college staff, and published materials about various courses, departments, and programs. 

Community Living Advisers

The Community Living Advisers (CLAs) serve as a resource to returning students, foster a welcoming community, provide initial support to returning students and, when appropriate, connect returning students to their residential college advising teams and/or the appropriate University offices.  Under the guidance of the college Assistant Dean for Student life, the CLA assists in facilitating a variety of activities with the purpose of building community and fostering an inclusive environment for continuing students.  They encourage students both to get to know one another and to take full advantage of the resources of the residential college community and the University.  CLAs also develop personal connections by hosting at least monthly programs and study breaks targeted to continuing residents, and address any concerns continuing students may have with other residents (i.e. roommate conflicts) and act as an initial mediator to resolve any concerns.

Curricular and Co-Curricular Resources for Learning

McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning

Learning support, like that provided by the McGraw Center, is an integral part of all Princeton students' experience, learning and success. As a new and unfamiliar context for students with a wide variety of ways of teaching and testing, Princeton academics require students to adapt how they learn, study, manage time, solve problems, etc. To assist in these adjustments, McGraw’s Undergraduate Learning Program equips students with the knowledge, skills, strategies and ways of thinking their coursework and independent work require but that are not always taught. We do this by translating research on learning into practical Princeton-specific advice, collaborating with students as they reflect on how they approach academic life and ultimately supporting students as they make adjustments to engage, learn, achieve and thrive academically and holistically as they meet new challenges. McGraw helps students adapt in order to thrive.

McGraw Center professional staff and dozens of peer tutors and learning consultants work with students in tutoring sessions, one-to-one coaching sessions and workshops tailored expressly for students to help them overcome challenges and make the most of Princeton’s many opportunities. All center programs are welcoming, cost-free, convenient and student-centered. McGraw's Tutoring provides academic support in a number of introductory STEM and quantitative problem-solving courses. Academic Life and Learning Consultations provide holistic advice and support for any course or issue. Advanced Academic Strategies Workshops address specific academic demands such as tackling Princeton’s reading loads, managing time and tasks, overcoming procrastination and developing advanced quantitative problem-solving skills, among others. We have also created many online videos, materials, and other resources designed to help students flourish as they transition into and through Princeton. 

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 on the second floor of New South, the Writing Center welcomes all Princeton students. Trained Writing Center Fellows offer 50- and 80-minute consultations for 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 cover letters, personal statements, and grant applications for graduate school applications, jobs, 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.

Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship

The Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship (ProCES) is a curricular program that supports community-engaged teaching, learning and research by building community partnerships, advising faculty on course design and providing community-engaged academic opportunities for undergraduate students across disciplines. Since 1997, ProCES has helped connect Princeton University faculty, students and communities in New Jersey and beyond to foster collaboration in the effort to co-create knowledge. Students may participate in service- or civic-oriented community-engaged learning in courses, in community-based internships or in funded junior or senior independent research work. Depending on the context, students might develop a theater piece with local youth, create a film, collect and analyze data or review the scholarly literature on a key issue for the staff of a nonprofit organization, to provide a few examples. Some students will work with faculty and community leaders to conduct a research project and share their conclusions with organizations that can utilize their work. ProCES courses also equip students with a theoretical or historical foundation for ethical engagement and reflection with communities.

Preparation for Teaching

The Program in Teacher Preparation provides information and advice on the numerous pathways to enter teaching at the middle and secondary levels, in both public and private schools. Students interested in earning the program's University certificate or the state license for teaching in public schools can email [email protected] or consult the program's website for information about Princeton's certificate program options for teaching.

The program provides advising support to any student who is interested in teaching and P-12 education. Program staff are available to provide guidance on both teaching and nonteaching job opportunities in education and graduate study relating to education. The program also administers several fellowships for teaching abroad after graduation. For more information regarding job opportunities related to teaching, please email [email protected].

The program's introductory courses (TPP 301 Seminar on Student Learning and Methods for Teaching and PSY 307 Educational Psychology) are open to any student interested in teaching and/or P-12 education. Nonprogram students interested in taking either course should contact the Teacher Prep office to be added to the course permissions list.

Advising Resources for Post-Graduate Study

Advising for Major Fellowships

Fellowship Advising, housed within the Office of International Programs, assists undergraduates and recent alumni as they navigate the process of identifying and applying to fellowships and scholarships. Designated faculty members and administrators are available to counsel students who are interested in applying for the Churchill, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Fulbright, Gates, Goldwater, Hertz, Labouisse, Luce, Marshall, National Science Foundation, Rhodes, Sachs, Schwarzman, Truman and other scholarships or fellowships. All except a handful, such as the Dale, Labouisse, and Sachs, available to Princeton seniors, are awarded on the basis of national competition. Many applications are submitted early in the fall of senior year, but students are encouraged to attend information sessions and meet with a fellowship adviser in early spring of their junior year. Several awards are available to undergraduates prior to their senior year, including the Goldwater and Truman Scholarships. Further information on the fellowships and eligibility requirements, the names of the advisers for each fellowship and appointment scheduling links are available from the Office of International Programs.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students intending to pursue graduate studies should seek guidance from faculty advisers and directors of undergraduate studies throughout their undergraduate careers. 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. (Interested students should check directly with the particular 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 language other than English. 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. The Center for Career Development is available to assist students as they prepare and plan for graduate and professional school.

Preparation for Law School

The Center for Career Development supports students and alumni interested in applying to law school and exploring legal careers. Their advisers are available to help students understand their options, navigate the application process, prepare their materials and more.

Visit their website to learn more about support for pre-law students, including a pre-law guide, applicant statistics, career paths in law, and more.  


Students considering law school should make a pre-law advising appointment using Handshake. Center for Career Development advisers can help students understand the application process, including how to investigate a career in law and maximize their academic, leadership, and professional experiences at Princeton.

For students considering law school, pre-law advising can help: 

  • Choose courses, majors, certificates, and co-curricular activities 
  • Investigate careers in law 
  • Understand the application process
  • Maximize academic, leadership, and professional experiences at Princeton for future applications

For students planning and completing applications, pre-law advising can help:

  • Learn how to obtain strong recommendation letters
  • Develop unique personal statements and essays communicating backgrounds and skills
  • Identify appropriate schools to apply to
  • Network effectively with law school admission professionals, faculty members, and attorneys


Law schools do not recommend a prescribed course of study for pre-law students. Students should choose courses and majors that interest them. Developing strong analytical, communication, research and writing skills will prepare students to succeed in law school and the legal profession.

Princeton offers many law-related courses that may be of interest to explore legal issues and learn more about how the law is developed and applied. Through internships and campus leadership and community engagement experiences related to law, policy, and government, students can engage in practical experiences that will offer them a greater understanding about the legal profession.

Preparation for Business School

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a professional degree that provides course work and training in a variety of business and management disciplines. MBA programs are generally offered as full-time (typically two years) or as part-time (three years) to accommodate working professionals. Although 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 except for deferred MBA admissions programs.

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. Students considering an MBA should make use of the many resources available from the Center for Career Development, including scheduling a one-on-one appointment with an adviser.

Preparation for Medical, Dental, and Other Health Professions Schools

The Office of Health Professions Advising (HPA) 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 the student's curriculum and academic year and summer activities. For detailed information about prehealth 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 on the HPA website under "Prehealth Prep." Prehealth students are encouraged to meet with an HPA adviser early in their college years to discuss both academic and non-academic preparation.