Getting the Most out of the PMA Meeting

Each quarter until you declare, you’ll meet with your Pre-Major Advisor before you enroll for the next quarter. What you get out of Pre-Major Advising is closely related to what you bring to this ongoing conversation. Here are six things you can bring to help make this partnership a success.

Tips for Making Your Meetings Productive


Ask questions to get to know your PMA, and to help establish your expectations of one another. Ask questions how to get the most out of Stanford, and how to connect with resources. Ask questions about what kinds of opportunities your PMA thinks you ought to consider, and why. PMAs are designed to offer advice about your choices well beyond the courses you will take, so find out where their expertise lies.


Be honest about your interests and challenges, because honesty is the key to inviting serendipity into your advising conversations. Your PMA needs to know what really matters to you, or what obstacles you are facing, in order for your partnership to flourish. Your PMA is a sounding board who can help you think about where your priorities really lie.

Willingness to Ask for Help

Your PMA has volunteered to be a touchstone for you, to help you plug in to everything that Stanford has to offer. There is a tremendous amount of support here on campus, and your PMA can help you connect with it.


Listen to advice, weigh your options and make thoughtful choices that align with your goals and values. Remember that Stanford’s multiple mentor model means that you have a handful of good advisors, but it is up to you how (and whether) you choose to take their advice.


Be flexible and open to new options. When facing the embarrassment of riches that Stanford has to offer it is easy to become overwhelmed and tempting to narrow or even restrict your focus. An agile leap toward something unexpected--a class, workshop, information session, etc--can take you someplace you might never have imagined.


Your conversation is ongoing, and between your meetings you participate by following up on the decisions that you make, or ideas you have, by taking responsibility and action.