Being a student in Harvard College is at once both exciting and challenging. The curriculum is designed such that students gain breadth, through the liberal arts, and depth, through an academic area of study. As such, the first year of study is always a time for refinement of skills and interests and exploration. To assist with these tasks, first-year students are assigned a three- or four-member advising team that provides guidance and counsel throughout.

To help students gain a better understanding of the high points and rhythm of the first academic year, the Dean of Students Office has created a chronology that is meant to provide insight into how things work, from taking placement exams and registering to course selection, mid-term grades, and final exams.