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Advising FAQ

What is an academic advisor?

Your academic advisor is a professor who works with you to develop a plan for your Dickinson education. Your plan should reflect your interests, chart a path through our curriculum, and position you to achieve your goals. Your academic advisor is committed to your success, but—as in any learning endeavor—you are responsible for making sound decisions, and you should take the initiative to build a successful working relationship.

Academic advising is a form of teaching, and sometimes academic advisors demonstrate their support by asking challenging—even provocative—questions. Such questions are a sign of respect for your decision-making ability and of your advisor’s investment in your educational path. By the end of your four years with us, you’ll realize that you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

As a first-year student, you will work with your seminar instructor as your "pre-major" advisor. You may arrive at Dickinson with a clear sense of direction and early ideas about your major. On the other hand, you may come to the College open to possibilities and looking to explore. In either case, Dickinson is the right place for you, and your pre-major advisor will help you consider your options and select your courses.

Major advisors

At some point before the end of your sophomore year, you will declare your major and begin working with a "major advisor" who is a specialist in your chosen field. Your major advisor will be able to offer a direction about meeting departmental requirements, and your advisor can also guide you to other opportunities, including research projects, leadership openings, internships, or graduate school applications. Sometimes, your advisor may offer this guidance directly, and sometimes your advisor may refer you to another member of the college community.