Your Team of Advisers
Harvard is committed to fostering an intellectually, personally, and socially transformative experience for our students. Good advising, we know, is essential to this commitment. Starting in your freshman year, we will provide you with the advising resources you need to succeed in college. Your success is our success.
From the moment you arrive on campus a team of advisers will help you navigate your first year at Harvard. Your team, in freshman year, will consist of a Freshman Adviser, a Resident Dean of Freshmen, a Proctor, and a Peer Advising Fellow. In some cases, your Proctor will also serve as your Freshman Adviser.
These advisers will be your go-to resource for both academic and non-academic advice, , but they will not be your only source of information and assistance. There are many student support offices and advisers on campus that stand ready to assist you. We hope you will begin expanding your own advising networks starting in freshman year. No one adviser will have all the answers or advice you may need; the more help you proactively seek out from a variety of resources, the smoother your transition to college will be.
Your Freshman Adviser – be they a faculty member, administrator, or graduate student —will assist you with many things: choosing courses, meeting your degree requirements, thinking about concentration options, taking advantage of special academic opportunities (such as research or study abroad), planning for the summer, and managing your time. You will meet with your adviser throughout the year, and are encouraged to reach out to them any time.
Resident Dean of Freshmen
The Resident Dean of Freshmen (RDF), a member of the Freshman Dean’s Office staff, is responsible for the overall wellbeing of first-year students at Harvard. Every freshman dormitory is overseen by one of four RDFs. RDFs track the academic progress of students in their charge, advise first-year students, and supervise Proctors in their affiliated residences.
A Proctor is an administrator or graduate student who lives in your dormitory and acts as your resource for personal, residential, social, academic, and other issues. Every Proctor oversees an entryway community of approximately 20 to 40 students, and helps plan residence-based social programming.
Peer Advising Fellow
A Peer Advising Fellow (PAF) is a sophomore, junior, or senior in the College who has been specially selected and trained to offer advice and assistance throughout your first year. PAFs are assigned to a specific dorm entrway; unlike Proctors, however, they do not reside in the freshman dorms.
As fellow college students, PAFs have a unique perspective within the advising team. They can offer useful guidance on how to balance your curricular and extracurricular choices, how to master the challenges of transitioning to college life, and how to take advantage of College resources.