First-Year Experience - Advising

First-Year Advising

Bryn Mawr students are assigned to the first-year class dean before arriving at the College as a first-year, transfer, or exchange student. 

Your Class Dean and Academic Advisor

Dean Horvath serves as your class dean and academic advisor, and is committed to supporting your success throughout your first year.

Your Class Dean is a specialist in working with students of your class year and often collaborates with families, faculty, and staff to support your success. Think of your Class Dean as someone who knows at least a little about you, a lot about Bryn Mawr, and wants to support you in your interests, goals, and overall collegiate experience. 

Your Bryn Mawr is a collection of all your experiences. Each class you take and each activity you partake in contribute to your growth as a unique individual. You are ultimately responsible for your own educational experience; your advisors are here to help you set and meet your academic goals. 

The advising relationship is interactive. You will share your interests and plans and your advisor will make recommendations and offer advice. During your first year, your course plan is prescribed but flexible. Your Class Dean will provide you with information on what type of courses you should take but you will determine what those courses are. You will meet with your dean several times, starting the summer before you arrive, prior to pre-registration during the fall and spring semester, and at any time you need assistance. Many first-year students will make appointments with their dean, the assistant director, or graduate assistant at other times to discuss a range of topics related to their life at Bryn Mawr. 

As your goals and questions evolve during your time as a Bryn Mawr student, we encourage you to develop meaningful advising relationships with your class dean, your professors, your major advisor, peer mentors, and other members of the campus community.

Drop-In Hours

Monday from 4-5 p.m. in Guild with Dean MB
Tuesday from 12-1 p.m. in Guild with Nicole Daly, Graduate Assistant
Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. with Missy MacPherson, New Student Programs Coordinator

Schedule an appointment with Dean MB
Schedule an appointment with Missy
Schedule an appointment with Nicole

During the academic year, the Class Deans offer in person drop-in hours in Guild every Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30pm. Please sign-in at the reception desk when you arrive. 

Advisor/Advisee Expectations

Students are expected to:

  • Use the resources provided online, via email, and on the FYE Advising and Orientation Moodle to understand the College’s academic requirements,
  • Read the Tuesday Newsletter each week during the summer and complete assignments outlined in the Newsletter promptly. 
  • Read official BMC emails throughout the academic year. Your dean, professors, and others in the Bryn Mawr community rely primarily on email to communicate with you. It is your responsibility to check your BMC email daily.
  • Consult with deans or other campus resources to address questions or concerns.
  • Schedule and attend advising appointments at designated times and whenever you would like additional advising support and come to advising appointments prepared and ready to discuss (and take notes on) the topics at hand. 
  • Actively explore possible majors. Students are not able to declare a major until Sophomore year but should take courses in academic fields to help them decide their major.

Your Class Dean is prepared to:

  • Help you learn about and understand college requirements and procedures.
  • Help you plan your educational program, including course selection and major/minor exploration.
  • Partner with the Registrar’s Office to help you monitor your academic progress.
  • Help you explore pathways for completing your degree.
  • Provide a supportive and respectful space for you to share your thoughts, aspirations, concerns, and interests and help you brainstorm solutions to problems.
  • Help you navigate coursework, especially if you are contending with medical or personal matters.
  • Advise you through decisions about studying away or taking a leave of absence.
  • Connect you to campus resources as needed.

Summer Academic Advising

During the summer prior to arriving on campus all new students are required to attend a group advising session where they will learn about the academic requirements for their first year. 

These sessions will be held on Zoom three times each day from June 24 to June 28, 2024 and sign up will be available beginning May 28, 2024 on the FYE Advising and Orientation Moodle.

Please review the New Student Checklist for information on setting up your Bryn Mawr email and Bryn Mawr Zoom account. A Bryn Mawr Zoom account is required to participate in the advising sessions. 

After attending a group advising session and completing the entering student questionnaire, students will be able to schedule a course selection meeting. At this meeting students should be prepared to discuss their academic interests and have a minimum of four or five courses in their shopping cart for the fall. 

Major Exploration

At Bryn Mawr, students do not declare their majors until their sophomore year. The first year can be one of exploration and you should take one course in a potential major subject each semester.

Many students find it helpful to think through the following questions as they explore classes and subjects.

  • What subjects/classes do I enjoy most? And what subjects/classes do I do well in? (Note that these may not be the same!)
  • What types of assignments interest me?  Which ones do I enjoy doing the most?  
  • What topics in current affairs do I care about?
  • What topics could I spend hours learning about?
  • What big questions draw my attention over time?
  • What sections of bookstores/newspapers/online media do I enjoy spending time in?

Take time to review majors available at Bryn Mawr and Haverford and choose a handful that focus on topics and approaches that incorporate some of the areas you’ve identified through the self-reflection questions. Include both those that you have taken courses in and those that you have yet to study. This will give you a chance to think broadly about the types of fields that exist while thinking through which might be a good match for you.

Some activities that may help you identify a good set of potential majors include: