About Cardinal Compass

Cardinal Compass is designed to help you navigate through your first year at Stanford. We can assist you in building a first year that takes full advantage of the wealth of frosh-friendly courses offered. We can also introduce you to the advisors ready to help you, and demystify some of the issues most commonly encountered in the transition to college.

How Cardinal Compass Can Help You

Cardinal Compass is divided into 4 primary subject areas. Each subject area is designed to help first year students learn what they need to know in order to make a successful transition to academic life at Stanford.

Meet Your Advisors

Meet Your Advisors presents a primer in Stanford’s multiple mentor model. Here you can learn about the various advisors you will meet on campus, the differences between them, and how to use meetings with your advisors to your best advantage. Who is your Academic Advising Director (AAD)? How might an AARC Advisor help you navigate NCAA requirements? Who are the Specialized Advisors who can help you later in your Stanford Career? When should you seek out advice? Who can help you make course planning decisions, assist you with academic difficulties, or introduce you to research opportunities? Start seeking answers here.

Advising Student Handbook

The Advising Student Handbook explores some of the most common academic advising issues that Stanford students face. Whether you're deciding on a major, trying to get started in research, or struggling and looking for help, these pages offer a place to start and pathways to explore. We include answers to questions asked by both students brand new to Stanford and those returning for their sophomore, junior, and senior years.

Frosh-Friendly Courses

Frosh-Friendly Courses offers an introduction to the wide variety of courses designed especially for first-year students. Explore your interests with an IntroSem, dive into an elective Thinking Matters, try a 1-unit lecture series, or take any of the dozens of courses identified by their schools as Frosh-Friendly! These classes allow students to look into a field of study or an academic discipline with minimal preparation or prerequisites.

My Stanford Story

My Stanford Story features first person accounts of Stanford experiences from students,staff, faculty, and alumni. Stanford Stories are as unique as the individuals who make up this incredible community and you can read multiple stories on the same topic for different perspectives. What's it like being a student athlete? Or being the first in your family to go to college? What frosh courses do upperclass students think you simply cannot miss? Why do people volunteer to be Stanford Newcomer Guides? Here you can learn from the experiences of others as you start your own Stanford Story.

Use this tool to...

  • Plan a successful first year
  • Learn more about frosh-oriented courses
  • Discover opportunities in fields that interest you
  • Familiarize yourself with Stanford’s advising structure
  • Find answers to common academic planning questions
  • Generate questions and ideas to discuss with your advisor

Ways to Start

Start exploring and see where your interests lead you: