Office of Undergraduate Studies

Academic Advising FAQs         What is Academic Advising?

What is Academic Advising?

Role of Advising

Academic advising is an integral part of each student's educational experience and it takes many forms.  Academic advisors provide students with information on academic requirements needed for degree completion, help students plan for future graduate study or a career, and serve as a research person.  Academic advising is a shared responsibility between the student and the advisor.

  • Provide information on academic requirements needed for graduation.  Advisors assist students in developing an academic and career plan, monitor students in the major, and discuss how a course of study fits a particular academic or career interest.  Advisers answer questions concerning a specific academic concern, such as problems with a particular class, and guide students through the registration process, including providing information on various registration blocks and what needs to be done to remove them. 

  • Help students plan for future graduate study or career.  Advisers discuss how an academic major can prepare a student for his/her career, and what career options are available.  Advisers refer students to the Career Center which provides career counseling and workshops on issues such as writing resumes and preparing for job interviews.  They also inform students about internship opportunities and how credit can be earned, and provide information on study abroad programs that might enrich a student's academic experience as well as enhance their resume.  Advisers inform students about graduate school opportunities and application procedures.

  • Serve as a campus resource.  Advisers assist students in obtaining support from other offices of the University.  This includes informing students about possible scholarships or fellowships, and referring students to academic support units that provide tutoring or workshops on study skills, time management, and stress management.  They may recommend that students seek counseling for stress, addictions, or trauma that may be affecting their academic work.  Advisers inform students with physical and learning disabilities of the support available to them.  They also encourage students to enrich their experiences by becoming involved on campus via social, political, academic, ethnic/cultural, sport and/or recreational student organizations and activities.

Some advisors are able to provide information on all of the above. Others specialize in a particular topic or area of concern.  For example, a college/department may have a specific career advisor or study abroad coordinator.  Students in upper level courses are often advised by faculty members who can assist with graduate school and career issues. Furthermore, some advisors work with specific populations, such as returning students, athletes, students with physical or learning disabilities, and students of color.

Academic Advising and Degree Completion

All new students are required to attend Orientation where they will register for classes. During their first semester, students develop a four year plan based on templates provided for each major (see www.4yearplans.umd.edu). Each plan includes specific benchmark courses to be completed within a specific period of time. Four year plans must be approved by an advisor in order to register for subsequent semesters.

Students are required to complete the benchmark courses in their major in order to progress to graduation (see Student Academic Success-Degree Completion Policy). Outlined in each four year plan, benchmark courses guide students in a step by step process to degree completion and demonstrate satisfactory progress in the major. Academic units conduct regular reviews of students’ progress, and those students who are in danger of falling behind benchmarks will be required to work with an advisor to develop a plan to get back on track. Students who do not make progress may be required to select a new major in which they can be successful.

Many students change their majors over the course of their academic career. When doing so, students must first complete and have approved a new four year plan.

It is recommended that all students seek advising assistance prior to course registration. Students should also consult with an advisor as circumstances change and four year plans need to be updated. Many colleges have mandatory advising for prior to registering for a new semester.  

Students placed on probation are required to consult an academic advisor in their college prior to the beginning of a new semester but no later than the end of the schedule adjustment period. Students will not be allowed to add or drop courses, or to register

 
 

College Information

If you are not sure where to seek advising, contact your academic college. When requesting to meet with an advisor, specify what topics you wish to discuss to ensure that you are directed to the appropriate individual.  Advising at the University of Maryland is normally a combination of professional advisors, located in many of the college office, and faculty advisors.  Please check your individual college to find out whom you need to see for academic advising. 

A James Clark School of Engineering

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

College of Arts and Humanities

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences

College of Education

School of Public Health

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Robert H. Smith School of Business

Letters and Sciences (for students who have not yet declared a major)