Discussion topics

Below are some suggestions for topics to discuss during your advisor/advisee meetings. Of course, there is no need to discuss all of these; feel free to talk about whatever you think is important, although many of these topics will come up naturally anyway. But in the event that you are looking for things to discuss, this list should be helpful.

       Academic topics:

  1. Courses for the present semester (for the start-of-semester meeting), or courses for next semester (for the mid-semester meeting).
  2. How the previous semester went (faculty can view the student's record through the Advising Portal).
  3. Any changes in academic goals since last meeting.
  4. Recent or present research projects (in the summer, or in Phys 90r).
  5. Plans for future research (in the summer, or in Phys 90r; there may be faculty you can point the student to).
  6. Summer plans (if not included in #5).
  7. Future plans for after college (do these plans correlate with the responses to the above topics?).
  8. Favorite and least favorite courses, and why.
  9. Concerns/difficulties with any courses. Is the student taking full advantage of the teaching staff?
  10. Issues with time management.
  11. Questions about grad school applications, GRE's, etc.
  12. Letters of recommendation and who will write them.

    Student-life topics:

  13. Amount of interaction with other students. Working in groups on problem sets? (Some students err by relying too much on their fellow students, some err by working completely in isolation.)
  14. Taking advantage of the various departmental resources/events, for example:
    a) Monday lunch with colloquium speaker 
    b) Monday Colloquia and tea
    c) Wednesday evening seminars
    d) Wednesday study-night at Leverett House
    e)  Various events organized by the Society of Physics Students
  15. Extracurricular activities.
  16. Any issues concerning being a woman or minority in the department (if a woman or minority, of course).
  17. Particular likes or dislikes about studying physics, or about Harvard in general.
  18. Preferred name the student likes to use.

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