‘stin asked, “can you talk about the residence-based advising programs and freshman advising/seminars? When do you choose your classes?”
I’ll answer the second question, first. For upperclassmen, they chose their classes by preregistering on WebSIS before the beginning of the next semester. Then on registration day, you meet with your advisor to make any last minute changes, and then submit your final registration in Dupont where you can pick up a poster of the LSC schedule.
As for freshmen, when you get here, you register for your first term classes during Orientation, but then second term, you join the rest of the world and do things the old fashioned way with WebSIS.
So as far as advising seminars go:
I can’t say much about Residence Based Advising since I never went through it myself, but the basic idea is that your advising group lives in your residence hall with you. You have a faculty advisor just like the students in seminar based advising, but typically your advisor comes to your residence hall and participates in activities with you there. What I think many people like about it is that you don’t have to go far to find your advising group and discuss issues pertaining to your transition to MIT.
I personally did not choose RBA because I wanted to get to know a lot of people from all over campus, and the dorms that offered RBA were not necessarily my top choice.
On the other hand, I chose seminar based advising which I really enjoyed. Basically, there’s a bunch of seminar options ranging from blogging to space to the music of language. My freshman year, I participated in a seminar about career options in Biomedical Engineering, and it was a really good experience because I got to learn about a topic I was interested in by having lectures from different scientists from MIT and Harvard, and there was also free food every week =). This coming fall, I’m actually going to be an associate advisor for 2.A35, Biomimetic Principles and Design, so if you’re interested in how biology can inspire engineering, you should definitely check it out.