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The Advising Partnership

Our general advisers help students plan and shape their undergraduate career at the UW, drawing from programs and opportunities across the entire University. In addition to assistance with tasks such as choosing a major and planning course schedules, advisers engage in a broader dialogue with individual students to better clarify their academic and personal goals. As educators, advisers emphasize the core skills of critical thinking and decision-making, and the value of broad exposure to a diversity of perspectives. Advisers also provide pre-professional advising in a number of areas such as pre-medicine and pre-law.

Who is my adviser?

Although our office makes sure that every new student is contacted by one of our academic advisers, you can choose to see this person or whomever you'd like. Most students start out meeting with their assigned adviser in UAA Advising or the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Counseling Services. As you start to narrow down your choice of majors, or if you're already declared, you will want to start meeting with department advisers. Other advising services at the UW include Student-Athlete Academic Services and the University Honors Program. Your ideal educational team will include both general and department advisers.

General advising

General advisers have expertise spanning the whole university. Until you declare a major you might primarily work with general advisers. They can explain requirements and procedures and help you plan for your major. They'll discuss with you how you can match your own interests with opportunities at the UW, and how you can integrate your academic and career plans.

In addition to general advising, each of these offices offer specialized advising services. For example, our office also offers advising services to second-year students, preprofessional students, and students who are struggling academically. 

College and department advising

College and Department advisers, on the other hand, have specialized knowledge of their specific area of the university. As you start to narrow down your choice of majors, you will want to meet with the college and department advisers for those majors for program planning and, in many cases, preparing your application for admission to the major. College and department advisers can introduce you to the opportunities available in each program, including internships, undergraduate research, scholarships, new and one-time course offerings, and special events. Once you declare a major, you will meet primarily with that department's adviser to plan your program of classes, stay connected with your academic community, and prepare for graduation and beyond.

For newly-admitted UW students

Your Advising & Orientation date is when you will have your first opportunity to meet with an adviser. We cannot meet with you before that date. If you cannot come to campus that day, contact First Year Programs to schedule another date, which will probably be later. We can answer quick questions over the phone (206-543-2550) or through email.

You can, however, start thinking about courses for your first quarter, and attend one or more of the wide variety of information sessions we offer on UW majors and preprofessional programs. You can also start looking through your major requirements and the Time Schedule.

For prospective transfer students

Each Thursday afternoon advisers in our office and many department advisers are available to meet with prospective transfer students for drop-in advising. Bring your transcripts and discuss your academic plans. Each Thursday a counselor from the Office of Admissions also offers one or more 30-minute group information sessions on transfer admission. In addition, a number of UW majors, preprofessional programs, and graduate programs offer information sessions on Thursday afternoons, so that prospective students can attend two or even three sessions in one trip to campus.

If you are unable to come to campus on Thursdays, call our office at 206-543-2550 and discuss your situation with an adviser. You can also email questions to (Email admissions questions to

If you have already decided on a major, it may be more appropriate to contact a department adviser.

For prospective freshmen

If you are interested in entering the UW as a freshman, you should work with the counselors in UW Admissions.

Outside of academics, what support for students is available?

  • The Counseling Center provides personal and career counseling, and also offers study-skills workshops.
  • The Career Center can help you with career planning and job searching. They offer many workshops and career fairs.
  • The Financial Aid department can provide information about the types of financial aid available and how to apply.
  • Student Fiscal Services can talk with you about money management, tax issues, and any questions about tuition and fees.
  • International Student Services staff provide assistance with navigating the F-1 and J-1 student visa benefits and restrictions.

Photo by UW Admissions