FIRST-YEAR ACADEMIC ADVISING
Can we offer you some (free?!) advice?
Each member of the entering class at Williams is assigned an academic advisor whose responsibilities keep him or her in close contact with the curriculum of the College. Each advisor works with between three and five first-year students.
How do you match students with their advisors?
In assigning first-year academic advisors, we look closely at the following in order to match students and advisors based on compatible interests:
- your responses to the advising survey
- the responses to the advising survey sent to all faculty
Perfect pairings are rarely possible, but every advisor is well-acquainted with the structure of the College’s curriculum and will be able to offer constructive suggestions regarding your proposed course of study. If your advisor does not know the answer to a particular question, he or she will either put you in contact with someone who does or track down the answer for you.
When will I meet my advisor?
- Your first meeting with your advisor will take place over the phone. This first contact is designed to help you sort through the various course choices and divisional requirements before you pre-register for the fall semester.
- Your advisor will be in email contact with you should you have follow-up questions or concerns over the summer.
- Your initial, in-person meeting will be during First Days. At that point your advisor will have access to the academic portions of your admission file, the advising survey results, and your placement test results.
How do I prepare for speaking with my advisor?
Your advisor will need a good deal of additional information from you in order to do the best possible advising job. Plan to share:
- your goals for your time at Williams
- your hopes for experiences you will have while here
- and any concerns you may have about what you are about to face
What interaction will I have with my advisor during my first year?
You will have three additional scheduled meetings with your Advisor after First Days:
- one in October to discuss Winter Study and your second semester courses
- one in April to discuss sophomore year classes and your thoughts on a possible major
- and, the last one in the fall of your sophomore year to help think through your selection of a major
NOTE: these three are in addition to any other meetings with your advisor that you may need in order to navigate your first year here at Williams.
Who else can help me?
The role of being a first-year academic advisor is taken seriously by all who are involved, and many students find it to be one of the most valuable relationships they develop during their first year. It does not always work out, however, that the interaction between an advisor and an advisee extends beyond the formal business of curricular advice, and it is important to recognize that the principle concern and responsibility of your advisor is to help you with your course choices and other academic matters.
If you have needs that go beyond these areas and want to look elsewhere for advice and assistance:
- consider speaking with your JAs
- Always feel free to come in and see me or one of the other deans. Contrary to popular perception, our primary job as deans is not disciplinary, but advocacy—to help students benefit as much as possible from their four years at Williams. Deans spend the majority of their time offering general academic advice and confidential personal counseling.
Additional Advising Resources: