Who will my adviser be?New UW freshmen are not assigned to a particular adviser, except for student athletes, students in the Educational Opportunity Program, TRiO SSS, or CAMP, and students who begin at the UW declared in their major. During your Advising & Orientation session, you will register for classes in a computer lab with a small group of other students, and advisers will be there to help you. After you leave Advising & Orientation, if you have questions you can contact an adviser for help. You can also meet with advisers whenever you have questions. For more on how advising works at the UW, check out the Advising at the UW section of this website.
Can I meet with an adviser before my Advising & Orientation session?In general, no. There are upwards of 7,000 new students starting each autumn quarter, so we need to keep things a little structured and organized. We know you have lots of questions, but we simply can't explain everything to each new student individually. The reason there are so many Advising & Orientation sessions spread over the summer is so we can bring you all to campus in small groups and give each of you as much individual attention as possible. During Advising & Orientation there will be several group sessions where we will go over the basic information you need to prepare for your first quarter. There will also be ample opportunities for you to ask questions.
Will my adviser during Advising & Orientation be my adviser for all four years?
Maybe, but it usually doesn't work out that way. Most freshmen start out meeting with the general advisers at the UAA Advising or Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Counseling Services. As you start to narrow down your choice of majors, you will want to meet with the advisers for those majors for program planning and, in many cases, preparing your application for admission to the major. Once you declare a major, you will meet primarily with that department's adviser to plan your program of classes, discuss internship and research opportunities, and prepare for graduation.
Even after you declare your major you may return to the UAA Advising and/or Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Counseling Services for a variety of services, including preprofessional advising for students interested in such programs as medical school, law school, veterinary school, and dental school. The advisers there can also help you if you find yourself in academic difficulty, and provide a valuable sounding board to help you keep an eye on the big picture of your college experience without being necessarily investing in one major or another.
Can I go to professors for advice?
In some of the smaller UW departments professors are the departmental advisers. In most departments, however, the academic adviser is a professional adviser whose full-time job is to help you navigate the University and make the most of the opportunities available to you.
Professors, however, can be the best resource for certain types of advice, and they make wonderful mentors. Many students develop a relationship with one or more professors and discuss their plans for the future with them. Also, admission to graduate and professional schools often requires getting recommendations from professors, so you should get to know at least a few of them individually. Professors are the best people to talk with about undergraduate research opportunities and preparing for graduate school, and they too can help you take advantage of the many opportunities on campus.