Advising Roles


Every first-year undergraduate at MIT is assigned to an advising group made up of a academic advisor, an associate advisor (upper-level student), and 4-8 fellow advisees. The role that each plays in the advising group is an important one.

What You Can Expect from Your Advisor

This faculty member will focus on academics and also be concerned about all aspects of your development through your first year at MIT. Your advisor will:

  • Be knowledgeable about academics and provide you with academic advice.
  • Help you select your classes and meet with you regularly to discuss your academic progress.
  • Help you become familiar with academic and campus resources, making referrals when difficulties arise.
  • Share expectations for the advising relationship and explain the role of a first year advisor.
  • Become part of the network of mentors you assemble for support throughout your time at MIT.
  • Help you define and achieve your educational goals.
  • Take an interest in getting to know you as a person.
  • Organize social events for your advising group a few times a year.
  • Connect you with other resources, opportunities and mentors on campus.
  • Meet with you regularly outside of registration meetings both in Fall & Spring. Suggested meetings include:
    • Fall Check-in: Finding Balance - discuss time management, stress, and adjusting to MIT
    • Winter Check-in: Exploring - discuss long term goals, ways to try out fields of interest, and plans for summer
    • Spring Check-in: Selecting a major - discuss student interests and goals, decision-making process, and ways to build in flexibility or pursue multiple interests if desired

What Your Advisor Will Expect from You

You, as much as your advisor, are responsible for maintaining the advising relationship. You are expected to:

  • Respond promptly to emails and voicemails from your advisor.
  • As an advisee in an Advising Seminar: Attend and participate in all seminar meetings; schedule and keep individual appointments with your advisor.
  • As an advisee with a Traditional Advisor: Set an agreed-upon schedule of appointments at the beginning of each term and keep your appointments.
  • Maintain regular contact with your advisor through emails or meetings.
  • Be in touch with your advisor as soon as any problems arise. Advisors are available and eager to help or refer you to appropriate resources.
  • Set academic and personal goals for the year and communicate these to your advisor.
  • Share your expectations for the advising relationship and let your advisor know if there are specific things they can do to help you.
  • Follow up if your advisor introduces you to one of their colleagues. Your advisor can help expand your network, but you are responsible for maintaining the new connections.
  • Keep an open mind and explore academic pathways you may not have considered – or even been aware of – before you came to MIT; weighing the advice your adviser gives you; and seeking multiple perspectives.
  • Prepare for meetings by thinking about or writing down questions, concerns, and goals you have that you would like to discuss with your advisor.

What Your Associate Advisor Can Do for You

Your associate advisor is a trained upper-level student who will work with your advisor to support you through your first year at MIT. Associate Advisors live in every residence hall and FSILG, and you are encouraged to seek academic advice from associate advisors in your residence in addition to your assigned Associate Advisor. Associate Advisors identify themselves using an Associate Advisors (AA) sticker (as shown below) on their room door. Your associate advisor will:

  • Help you select your classes and might be part of meetings with your advisor.
  • Be able to advise you about balancing your academic and extracurricular commitments.
  • Provide you with the student perspective.
  • Be knowledgeable about academics & available to provide you with first-hand academic advice and information.
  • Be familiar with academic and campus resources.