What an IntroSem Can do for You

"Over the course of freshman year alone, I participated in five IntroSems, all of which contributed greatly to the discovery and molding of my passions here. Rather than continue to throw out random thoughts, let me just tell you a little bit about two of my favorite IntroSem courses!-Miguel Boluda'14

Why take an introsem?

Introductory Seminars offer first- and second-year students the opportunity to work with faculty who are experts in their fields with classmates who are equally passionate about the topic. IntroSems are introductory in the sense that little prior background is expected,  yet they are real investigations in the methods and materials of a particular discipline. In addiition to developing relationships with faculty and peers, IntroSems provide an intellectually exciting platform for transitioning to the university.

Five key benefitS

1. Get to Know a Faculty Member

"This was the first class I have ever taken that really got me excited about the subject matter. My professor was teaching exactly his specialty, which basically means that my first introduction to [the topic] was from a master in the field."--Stanford Student '16

  • Engage the most esteemed Stanford faculty on topics that fascinate them. Their enthusiasm can be contagious.
  • Develop long-term mentoring relationships, with possibilities for future research collaboration.
  • Gain access to advice, guidance and letters of recommendation. 

2.  Meet students who share your interests

"Not only are they a wonderful opportunity to build a relationship with a professor, but they also give you a great network of 10-15 other freshman outside of your dorm."--Stanford Student '16

  • Venture beyond your dorm to make connections with peers who share your interests,.
  • Develop relationships that can lead to future collaboration and friendships in a potential major. 
  • Form friendships which will last for the rest of your time at Stanford and beyond.  

3. Explore your intellectual passion!

"A great way to get really in-depth into a topic that was really interesting to me, and not just something I HAD to take."--Stanford Student '16

  • Dabble in a field that intrigues you, but that lies outside your primary academic interest. 
  • Determine if the academic path you are considering is right.
  • Fulfill Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing, as well as some writing requirements; seminars are safe places to fulfill a requirement in an area that may be outside your comfort zone.

4. Learn in a ‘hands on’ environment

"A hands-on setting gave me a spark that I wouldn't have ever found in the freshman pre-req classes that I'm taking."--Stanford Student '16

  • Enjoy an ever-changing curriculum that encompasses hands-on project design, fieldtrips, guest speakers and access to community-based service learning.
  • Energize your core curriculum through engaging the actual work of a discipline.
  • Develop a lasting interest and continue your research after the course is over. 

5. Gain confidence in yourself

“At least for me coming in as a freshman, I had zero confidence about my academic ability, like compared to all these Stanford kids.  But my IntroSem professors  talked  about their research,  about their life, and  about how they grew up and what path led them to where they are and you realize it’s not totally implausible that could be you.  Then you start thinking maybe you could do that too."--Stanford Student '12 

  • Test your career choices through engaging the work of a discipline.
  • Develop a critical foundation for the analytical tools of a discipline.
  • Create projects that advance your academic goals (see student work, above)