The First Year

Welcome to Pitzer College! There is a lot of freedom at Pitzer. But this means it is really important for you to make good decisions, and good decisions depend on good information. Your academic adviser is here to help provide good information. When they don’t know the answer to your questions, they will know how to find the answers.


  • 1. Get to know your academic adviser and your professors.

    Get to know your academic adviser and your professors. Invite them to join you for lunch at McConnell Dining Hall during the semester. They will eventually be writing letters of recommendation for you. They will be able to write much stronger letters if they know you well.

  • 3. Regularly check academic calendar for important deadlines.

    Get to know the academic calendar and important deadlines. In September (February), know the deadlines to add classes and finalize your schedules. In October (March), follow up on any low grade notices and pay attention to the deadline to drop classes. In November (April) you pre-register for next semester. And in December (May), know the deadline to withdraw from classes and your final exam schedule. Frequently monitor your Pitzer email since all official communications will go there.

  • 4. Try to complete half of your general education requirements before the end of your first year.

    The requirements include one social justice theory course, one social responsibility praxis course, one written expression course, two humanities courses, two social science courses, one quantitative reasoning course, and one science course.

    Courses can double or even triple count across designated sections, but not within. You should also take some introductory courses in areas of a possible major. You can focus on your major requirements and other areas of interest during your last two years at Pitzer. When you are ready to declare your major, be sure to complete the major declaration guidelines form.

  • 5. Start thinking about a major and/or a career.

    But don’t feel pressured to make a hasty decision. Take the time to really discover who you are, what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what you want to be. Take your time and enjoy exploring your options.

  • 8. Check out the opportunities available at the career services.

    We hope that you are excited to explore career options and to plan for career-related opportunities during and after your time at Pitzer.  The Career Services team is here to help you consider your interests, values, talents and goals and to plan for ways to put those into action.  We encourage you to participate in the many workshops, alumni visits, company/organization information sessions, career fairs, and other events at Pitzer and The Claremont Colleges.  After you settle into your classes, please schedule an individual conversation with a career advisor to get to know us and to think about what you might do this summer and beyond.  You can schedule an individual conversation and explore all career-related events on Handshake.

  • 9. Think about applying for fellowships which target first year students.

    Think about applying for fellowships which target first year students. You might consider the Boren Scholarship, Congress-Budestag Youth Exchange, Critical Language Scholarship Program, Kemper Scholarship, and/or Fulbright Commission: Summer Institutes. There are also lots of summer fellowships. Sandy Hamilton in Fletcher 204 can help you here. You may not get the first fellowship you apply for. But keep practicing, and you will get better at it.

  • 10. What are your summer plans?

    Summer jobs, summer internships, summer research projects, summer fellowships. By late in the Fall semester, you should be making your summer plans. Doing something productive over the summer is more important than what you do after your first year at Pitzer. The Career Services Office is there to help you.

  • 11. Do you want to study abroad while at Pitzer?

    If you are interested in going abroad, it is critical for you to start the process. Visit the Study Abroad Office. Applications will be due at the start of your sophomore year. Consider declaring your major ahead of your study abroad plans as major declaration will be required to attend the program.

  • 12. Interested in the sciences? Determine a STEM advisor!

    Some science majors require classes be taken in a specific order, starting in your first semester. Visit the Keck Science Department website for information on specific majors.  If you are interested in a career in medicine, dentistry, or other health field attend an information session with the pre-health advisor, Susie Fang.