Advising FAQ

+ Who is responsible for my future?

As a student at Lawrence University, you are responsible for planning and pursuing your own educational program. You are able to make your own decisions and choose appropriate options.

+ What does an advisor do?

As you begin your college experience, a faculty advisor will help you with the important task of planning your education and will offer guidance. Just like a class instructor, the advisor can assist you in understanding the curriculum, identifying your strengths and weaknesses, setting your goals, and effectively utilizing the resources of Lawrence. Your Lawrence education can be most rewarding when you build a strong relationship with your advisor. In addition to an excellent education, you may gain a valued mentor.

+ How was my advisor assigned?

The Dean of Academic Success tries to assign a new student to a faculty advisor on the basis of similar academic interests, particularly those interests indicated in on the “Advisor Information Form.” But even if you are not initially assigned to an advisor in your intended major, be assured that all faculty advisors are prepared to assist student across the liberal arts curriculum.

+ When I declare my major, will my advisor change?

Students are required to declare majors and have advisors in their major department by the beginning of the junior year. There is a form you may get from the Registrar’s home page for that purpose. If you would like assistance in determining an appropriate advisor (if your major is in a department other than the one of your initial advisor), you should consult with the Dean of Academic Success. We recommend that sophomores have an advisor in their intended major prior to advance registration in the spring term.

+ How do I change my advisor?

Most students’ needs or interests change over time. You aren’t required to change advisors each time your interests change, however. Not until your junior year must your advisor be in the department of your intended major. All new students keep their assigned advisors for at least one term. After that time, you may decide to change advisors. Your advisor will not be offended if you change. If you decide you would like to change advisors: Complete an Advisor Change Form available from: the Registrar (Brokaw Hall) or or the office of the Dean of Academic Success (1st floor Briggs) Obtain the signature only of your new advisor Return the form to the Registrar. The Registrar notifies your former advisor and requests that your advising material be forwarded to the new advisor. If you are considering an advisor change and want to discuss your options, please see Dean Gajewski or Dean Wickens in the Center for Academic Success (x6530, 1st floor Briggs).

+ What is the advising relationship?

If you work with your advisor to advance your education and development, you should find your advisor continually helpful and responsive. Your advisor wishes to offer you good guidance and will help you decide among the various course and program options available as you meet general education requirements and pursue your academic interests. The advisor also will direct you to resources concerning such opportunities as study abroad, internships, and research possibilities. In addition, you must consult with your advisor not only about course selection or changes but also about any petitions for exceptions to academic regulations.

+ For what do I need to contact my advisor?

You will need to contact your advisor in order to: advance register change courses select the S/U option for a course register for an underload or an overload petition the Sub-Committee on Administration for an exception to an academic regulation These actions require an advisor’s signature, or the release of an advising hold, to verify that you have discussed your decision with your advisor. You may also choose to meet with your advisor to: discuss your academic program broadly and review plans for the future plan a schedule of courses reflect on changes and plans clarify issues which confuse you alleviate problems and difficulties with courses identify campus resources Your advisor will listen to your plans or questions and present approaches to making the best decision. Often the advisor will refer you to the Career Center, The Center for Teaching and Learning, Counseling Services, to a dean, or other offices to obtain additional insights or more specific information before you make a decision.

+ How do I prepare for my appointments?

Make an appointment (email is recommended) or use regular office hours. Advisors cannot be effective if students ask to have forms signed in the hall or between classes. Plan ahead for the meeting. Prepare a list of specific ideas or questions you wish to discuss. Identify your central concerns in the meeting. Be specific about the kind of advice you want. Ask questions and ask your advisor to question you.

+ Does the advising relationship work the same way in the conservatory?

Yes, for the most part, but some Conservatory regulations governing issues such as transfer music credit, student-designed music majors and B.A. music requirements may differ from the general university regulations, in which case students will need to petition the Conservatory Committee on Administration as well. In either the conservatory or the college, the advisor must sign the appropriate form; this signature indicates advice was given.

+ Will my advisor keep track of my degree requirements?

Your education is ultimately your responsibility. Do not expect the advisor to routinely keep track of your general education, degree, and major requirements. Advisors may review requirements periodically, as part of course planning, but you are responsible for meeting all requirements. Information about requirements is available from your advisor, the Registrar, and the Center for Academic Success. Each term you should also review your degree summary on Voyager. Be sure to check your Voyager registration before the end of the first week of each term to be sure it accurately lists the courses you are taking.

+ Is it my advisor's responsibility to be in charge of my education?

Students sometimes think that their advisors are able to approve/deny an opportunity or request. At Lawrence, this is not true. The advisor can approve/deny a request for an underload or overload only. In all other cases, advisors provide perspectives to help you make choices; an advisor must sign forms, but the signature means only that they have given the student their best advice on the matter. Your advisor will not make decisions for you. All final decisions are yours.

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