Advising FAQs

How do I find an advisor?

You can find your assigned advisor by here or by logging into MyUW and checking in Student Center.
 
If you need to talk to a different advisor, try the Find an Advisor tool. If you’re not sure what kind of advising you need, you can also explore what different offices and services are available under the tab “Find an Advisor” at the top of this page.

How often should I see my advisor?

We highly encourage you to meet with your assigned advisor at least once or twice a semester; once to help you plan your coursework, and once to explore and discuss bigger picture questions and goals.  
 
But remember, you can always reach out to your advisor more! Click here to see why it’s a good idea. 

How do I schedule an appointment with my advisor?

There are many different ways to schedule an appointment, and it varies by school, college, and department. Before contacting an advisor or advising office, please check the scheduling information posted on their website. It may seem like a lot of information at first, but once you become familiar with the preferred method of your assigned advisor(s) and or/department, it won't be something you need to look into regularly. 
 
The Find an Advisor tool will provide you with all available options for the specific kind of advising you’re seeking and link you to the website of the advising office or department you're trying to contact. Remember, scheduling early is important, especially during the busy weeks before enrollment (November and April).
 

Can I see more than one advisor?

Absolutely! In fact, the average undergraduate student often has two or more assigned advisors by the time they graduate. You might have:
 
  • Your original assigned advisor for your school or college
  • An Honors program advisor
  • A career advisor
  • A study abroad advisor
  • or others!
The more advisors you have a relationship with, the better.

Can an advisor tell my parents about my courses, or grades?

No. According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, you would need to give UW-Madison written consent first. However, there are some exceptions for special circumstances.
 
Read more about FERPA here.

How do I leave a comment/suggestion/thank you to my advisor?

Some advising offices will ask you to fill out a short survey after your appointment, either in the office or via a follow-up e-mail.
 
You can also send a message with Thank an Advisor.
 

Can my advisor help me graduate in four years?

Your advisor can support your efforts to graduate in four years by helping you monitor your progress and come up with a strategic academic plan. They can also give you some good tips, and help you problem solve any obstacles you run into. 
 
If you haven't already, talk to your advisor about your graduation timeline, and make sure you make an informed decision based on your finances, and academic and career goals.

I’m having trouble choosing a major or degree, who can I talk to?

If you haven’t declared a major or degree yet, you probably have an assigned advisor with Cross-College Advising ServiceThe advisors in this department are trained to help students with this exact question, and having conversations with your advisor about your goals and interests is a good place to get started, and a great way to connect to other helpful resources, such as:
 

How should I prepare for my advising appointment?

The more prepared you are for your appointment, the more you’ll get out of it.
 
Make sure to schedule early, (drop-in advising should be used for quick questions only). Brainstorm your questions and concerns. Then, take a stab at answering some of them. Bring the right materials to your appointment, like your student ID, DARS report, transcript, or cover letter and resume if applicable.  
 

Do I have to see my advisor to enroll in classes?

In most cases, you are not required to see your advisor to enroll in classes, but we highly recommend it. Remember, advising is more than a check-in once a semester. It’s an opportunity for you to meet with your “academic coach,” someone you can bounce ideas off of, get referrals, and receive a professional perspective on your plans.
 
Your advisor can help you:
 
  • Think about what classes you would succeed in
  • Double-check your DARs report, and make sure your schedule lines up
  • Provide feedback  or information if you have concerns

Does my advisor pick out my classes for me?

No, your advisor will not pick out your classes or enroll for you. However, they will offer suggestions, clarify questions, and help you double-check your schedule.
 
Your advisor is there to make sure you understand how to research your classes, read your DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) report, understand your requirements, know your options, and make effective decisions on your own. As a new student, this process may seem overwhelming at first, but your advisor is there to help you through it.

What kind of career advising or services are available on campus?

School and College Career Services
Each school and college offers their own career services, either through their general academic advising offices or through their career advising center.
 
The Career Exploration Center (CEC)
If you are exploring multiple career paths or want to talk to someone about connecting your major to a career, the Career Exploration Center offers many useful resources like:
  • One-on-one career advising appointments
  • Drop-in advising
  • Workshops
  • A Career Library
  • Self-assessment evaluations
  • Resume and cover letter help
Advising Events
The Advising Events Calendar includes career advising events, fairs, workshops, panels, presentations, and networking opportunities. 

When should I see a career advisor?

We suggest you visit a career advisor at least once a year, but it might be more depending on what you need help with, and where you are in the exploration stage.
 
Career advisors can be a sounding board for your ideas, goals, or frustrations. They can also help you or find help with resumes, portfolios, interviews, job hunting, and internships.
It’s also a good idea to check in with a career advisor if you will be graduating soon. 
 

Who do I talk to about studying abroad?

Chatting with your assigned advisor is always a good starting point, especially if you’ve met with them before and they have an idea of your goals, strengths, and interests. They can help you see how to account for a study abroad program in your graduation timeline. 
 
If you are looking into your options through International Academic Programs, you can start by chatting with a peer advisor. They can answer some of your initial questions about different programs.
 
Some schools and colleges have their own study abroad offices and offer information about study abroad programs that are directly related to certain areas of study; please contact their offices for more information.
 
IIP advisors assist undergraduates from all majors seeking internships/co-ops abroad or with an international focus in the U.S. They provide advising and resources to help you get started exploring international internship opportunities, applying for scholarships and getting course credit.