President Hennessy writes to parents of transfer students

September 2015

Dear Stanford transfer student parent,

Welcome to the Stanford family. We are delighted your son or daughter chose to continue his or her studies at Stanford. College life is familiar to transfer students, and they are ready to get started. We will do our best to make their transition to Stanford a smooth one.

New Student Orientation comprises events and information specifically designed for them, including “Answers for Transfers,” a two-part panel discussion with returning transfer students and staff from various campus programs.

Orientation week also features the annual First Lecture. Margot Gerritsen, associate professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering and director of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, will deliver a talk that offers students a framework for approaching their Stanford education. Gerritsen’s talk is also the starting point for the Education as Self-Fashioning lecture series. Throughout the series students are challenged to think about, and discuss as a community, the meaning of a liberal education. Professor Gerritsen is an award-winning teacher and a wonderful speaker—I know your son or daughter will be inspired by the presentation.

The First Lecture is just the beginning as transfer students explore course offerings and choose their classes. Some of these classes will come from our innovative Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing curriculum. The Ways are breadth requirements designed to build skills and capacities and to expose students to diverse critical frameworks. They include courses in eight categories, including aesthetic and interpretive inquiry, applied quantitative reasoning, creative expression, engaging diversity, ethical reasoning, formal reasoning, scientific method and analysis and social inquiry.

During orientation week students will meet with their Pre-Major Advisors in a one-on-one meeting as well as in a small-group discussion. Pre-Major Advisors are Stanford faculty or staff members who help connect students to university resources and can offer perspective as students make decisions about their academic careers. More specialized advice on topics such as pre-professional planning is available in the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research.

Early in fall quarter, the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research will hold its annual Majors Night, featuring more than 50 academic departments and programs. Faculty, staff and upperclass students will be on hand to share their experiences and answer questions. Majors Night is a great opportunity to make new connections in the academic community at Stanford. I encourage your son or daughter to attend.

We want the first year at Stanford to be a great one for your son or daughter. Stanford’s Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research, headed by Robert Urstein, can help students navigate all the choices, activities and challenges. We want your sons or daughters to realize their aspirations, and we will work with them to make their time at Stanford rewarding and exciting.


John L. Hennessy