Apply for Priority Enrollment
The online student application system, the IntroSems' VCA, opens for the 2023-24 year on August 14th when students may plan their selections for priority enrollment for the entire year, finalizing their choices in advance of quarterly deadlines.
Applications are reviewed by faculty after quarterly deadlines, not before. Students may only enter information in the IntroSems' VCA when it is open for applications; the system is closed when faculty are building their classes and during processing periods. Apply for priority enrollment in the IntroSems' VCA by the following 4 PM (PT) deadlines:
- Autumn Quarter: August 14 - Thursday, August 31
- Winter Quarter: August 14 - Wednesday, November 8
- Spring Quarter: August 14 - Tuesday, February 20
- Choose up to three IntroSems per quarter. Use the Annual Seminar Plan pdf to keep track of your choices for the year as you review the Explore IntroSems catalog.
- Go to the IntroSems' VCA to apply and enter your statement and ranking at vcais.stanford.edu
- Complete a statement of interest or self-introduction for your first ranked seminar each quarter in the IntroSems' VCA. The writing prompt is:
"Pick something in the seminar description and explain why it grabs your attention. Perhaps it reminds you of a prior experience, inspires you to tell a story about yourself, or unearths a curiosity you didn’t know you have. Don’t worry if the story doesn’t seem relevant to the IntroSem. The purpose is for the professor to learn more about you as they assemble the class. Please note - the system has a character limit of about 3000."
Be specific, give details that illustrate your points, and use full sentences in a unified presentation. See our Writing Tips for more guidance.
Please note that the instructors of your second- and third-ranked seminars are able to read your self-introduction for your first-ranked course. You have the option of entering additional statements of interest for your lower ranked seminars should you wish to.
- If an IntroSem has a course-specific question in the IntroSems' VCA, it must be answered regardless of how you rank the course. If a seminar has a course-specific question, you will see it below the text box for the standard writing prompt. These instructors would like to know a little bit more about you than your first-choice statement reveals.
- Be sure to click the Save button often to record your selections and statement in the IntroSems' VCA. The Save button is essentially the Submit button. Look for an automatic confirmation message in your email every time you save something to the VCA. You may revise your selections, ranking, and statement up until each quarter's 4PM sign-up deadline at which point all saved entries are automatically submitted for instructor review. (In other words, your selections are reviewed after each quarterly deadline, not on a rolling basis or first come, first served.)
- If you select more than one seminar in a given quarter--something that's encouraged!--the IntroSems' VCA automatically ranks your choices according to the order you enter them in, but gives you the option to adjust your ranking later using the dropdowns beside each course selection in your Selections Table on the VCA landing page. Your Selections Table appears under Announcements and above the VCA Course Catalog once you start saving your work to the application system. To change your rank order, use the dropdown arrows under the "Rank" column in your Selections Table and click the red button under the table, "Submit Rank Change."
- To revise an entered statement in the IntroSems' VCA before a quarterly deadline, go to the "Edit" column in your Selections Table and click on the "Revise" link in the course row. Be sure to save your changes.
- Can't locate the course in the IntroSems' VCA Course Catalog? Changes happen throughout the year, so check the Seminar Updates page in the Explore IntroSems' catalog for the most recent updates.