A Freshman Seminar ordinarily brings together one instructor with twelve students to study a topic of keenly shared interest. It frees its participants (instructor and student) from the usual constraints of lecture courses such as letter-grades and exams. Instead, students in a seminar undertake readings, discussions, essays, and presentations toward a SAT/UNSAT grade.
Seminars also feature special instructional activities such as guest speakers, concerts, exhibitions, studio or lab work, and field trips that enhance the learning experience for freshmen.
Students often cite a Freshman Seminar as their best learning experience at Harvard, not only in the Freshman Survey, but in the Senior Survey as well.