First-Year Students
Your First Year

PRDV 101 - McCormick First-Year Experience

The McCormick First-Year Experience Seminar (PRDV 101) is a zero-credit course designed to support students' transition into Engineering and Northwestern.  Sections are led by peer leaders and students are able to discuss areas of interest, challenges they encounter, strategies for success, and available resources.

Academic Advising

Your McCormick Academic Adviser will work with you during your first year to:

  • select courses
  • choose which degree to pursue
  • discuss academic opportunities outside of your major (like minors, certificates, and special programs)
  • work on study skills.
  • identify and use other campus resources

Working together, you will explore McCormick and Northwestern and create a strong foundation for academic success in the future.

McCormick Advising System

Throughout your first year, log into the McCormick Advising System to get important information about your academic career.


Your Advisor will begin to learn about you before you arrive on campus through the McCormick Advising System and Dossier. You will answer questions about your goals at Northwestern and beyond, take assessment exams, and start to pick courses for the fall quarter of your first year. Your adviser will contact you by email to answer your questions, to provide suggestions for getting more information on other programs at Northwestern, and to approve your fall study plan.

Fall & Winter

During fall and winter quarters, you will meet with your academic adviser in large groups as part of the First Year Experience (PRDV 101). In these large groups, your adviser will provide general information on course sequences and suggested courses for the upcoming quarter. Then you will need to create a draft study plan before scheduling a one-on-one appointment with your adviser before your registration time. You and your adviser will finalize and approve a study plan allowing you to register for classes. Don’t forget to meet with your adviser if you want to register as early as possible!


In the spring quarter, you will plan courses for the following fall with a new adviser. If you have declared a major, you will hear from your department concerning advising. Some departments will have group advising sessions first, while some will let you know how to set up an individual appointment. If you are undecided on a major, you will be advised by the Undergraduate Engineering Office. In both cases, your new adviser will be listed in the McCormick Advising System early in the spring quarter.


Throughout your first year, your adviser is available to discuss any issues that may arise. Please contact your adviser to make an appointment.

Additionally, the Advising Center (Ford 2.210) is open for walk-ins Monday through Friday. Check with your advisor for the hours each quarter.