What is a typical quarter like for a Stanford student?

An Average Quarter at Stanford

Since your first quarter at Stanford is a little different (you will not be able to enroll in classes until the end of NSO), let’s imagine the progress of a different quarter, any average quarter in your Stanford career.

The Quarter Before

Between Weeks 3 - 5

Undeclared students meet with their Stanford Newcomer Guide. This meeting gives you a chance to reflect on your academic progress and plans. It’s less about the classes you plan to take and more about thinking purposefully about your pathway - there are different topics to consider each quarter. After the meeting, your SNG will release your enrollment hold for the following quarter. Make the most of your meeting with your SNG.

End of Week 6

Enrollment opens for the next quarter. Students research courses on ExploreCourses and can enroll in open classes (often including enrolling in required discussion or lab sections as well as lectures). Some classes (like introsems) will require application essays and have their own specific deadlines. Others (like creative writing courses) will require entering a lottery or putting in your preferences (PWR). Some courses have built-in prerequisites that won’t allow enrollment until a passing grade is recorded in the necessary pre-requisites. Remember: When you sign up for a class, you are also affirming that you will be able to attend the scheduled Final Exam time as well. Make sure that this is the case.

Most classes do not fill up immediately. In case a course has a waiting list or the section/lab times available do not work in your schedule, do not fret. Many course enrollments will be in flux through the first week of classes and you are likely to get into the course/section/lab that works best for you. Attend the course the first day to ask more information of the professor and TAs, but also have a back-up course or section just in case.

End of the Quarter

Purchase the texts for the classes you are certain to take so you are prepared on Day 1.

The Quarter Itself

Day 1: Preliminary Study List Deadline.

You will need to be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units (unless you have an official reduced course load) by 5pm on the first day of classes.

Week 1

Attend all of the classes you are interested in (this will likely be more than you ultimately take), including labs and discussion sections. In most cases, labs and discussion sections are not optional. Evaluate your workload and choose a combination of classes that works for you. Read through your syllabi carefully.

Weeks 1 - 10

Attend classes, sections, and labs. Do your homework and participate fully. Classes often have multiple paper assignments and/or midterms (the word “midterm” is used for any significant test, and midterms may be given at any time in the quarter, not just in the middle).

During Week 3, the Registrar’s Office will send you an email reminding you of the classes you are enrolled in and stating the unit count and grading basis you have currently selected. You are responsible for reading this email and making sure that the information contained in it reflects your intended courses, grading option and unit count--and making changes in Axess if it is not correct.

Friday of Week 3: The Add/Drop/Change Units Deadline, at 5pm

By the end of Week 3, you will need to make your final decisions about which classes you intend to take, and, in the case of variable unit courses, for how many units you will take those classes. Classes you drop before the end of Week 3 are not shown on your transcript. This is the Final Study List Deadline.

During Week 8, the Registrar's Office will send you another email with your current enrollment details. You’ll want to pay particular attention to the grading basis in each of your classes.

Friday of Week 8: Withdrawal and Change of Grading Basis Deadline, at 5pm.

By the end of Week 8, you need to make final decisions about whether to take your classes for a letter grade or for credit/no credit (where available). Hint: Talk to your Academic Advising  Director or AARC Advisor if you have questions and remember that GERs and most major requirements need to be taken for a letter grade.
You may also withdraw from courses until the end of Week 8. Courses from which you withdraw will be marked with a W on your transcript. This is also a decision you’ll want to discuss with your Academic Advising Director or AARC Advisor. (There are a lot of misconceptions among students about how CR/NC/W work, so be sure to consult an advisor.)

Finals Week (Week 11)

Take your final exams, finish final papers, complete your course evaluations.

Celebrate the successful completion of another quarter and begin preparing for the next one! (You did remember to meet with your SNG and enroll right?)