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Academic Advising

Academic advising is a dynamic relationship between advisor and student to support the student's educational and career success. Advisors provide guidance on academic policies and regulations, post-graduate opportunities, and other resources available on-campus that offer academic and personal support.

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 and faculty advisors. Please check your individual college to find out whom you need to see for academic advising.

What is Academic Advising?

An advisor can support you in these key areas.

graduation cap iconInformation 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. Advisors 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.

briefcase iconSupport planning of future graduate study or career

Advisors discuss how an academic major can prepare a student for a career and what career options are available. Advisors refer students to the Career Center, which provides career counseling and help with writing resumes and preparing for job interviews. They provide information about internship opportunities and about study abroad programs that might enrich a student's academic experience and resume. Advisors inform students about graduate school opportunities and application procedures.

shell iconServe as a campus resource

Advisors 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. Advisors 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.

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 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.

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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.

Policy Changes due to COVID-19

For Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 semesters, the Office of Undergraduate Studies had webpages with information on policy changes and frequently asked questions. The archived versions of these pages are linked below.

You can also find the undergraduate catalog addenda for each of these terms in the undergraduate catalog archives. These addenda outline the COVID-19 related policy changes for both Spring 2020 and Fall 2020/Spring 2021.

(Information from the Office of the Registrar FAQ page.)

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