New Student Advising Common Concerns and FAQs

This looks complicated…
Choosing your courses is important, and you should spend a reasonable amount of time preparing to make your choices. However, as long as you stay organized, weighing your options probably isn’t as complicated as it first may seem. Also, remember that we’re here to help!

Will I have enough room in my schedule for all the courses I want to take?
As predicaments go, this isn’t a bad one to have, but you will need to make choices. Good news: you have four years. More good news: we’re here to help! Make a list of questions and ask your advisor during your “new student advising call.”

What if I make the wrong choice?
There’s simply no such thing. Make thoughtful, responsible decisions and work with your advisor. Discovering that a particular field isn’t the right fit for you is every bit as important as discovering your core intellectual passion. Moreover, because all our courses and professors are rigorous and excellent, we’re confident that you’ll find value in every course you take. Finally, if you’re already thinking about graduation requirements (you need not!), almost every course you take in your first semester will move you towards graduation.

What if I want to double major?
At Dickinson and across the country, many students are rushing to double major. Double-majoring may end up being the best choice for you, but we strongly (strongly!) encourage you to consider this important decision with great care and in consultation with advisors and professors at Dickinson. Want to know a bit more? Check out this guidance co-authored by the deans of academic advising and career development. If you still want to move forward with plans for a double major, then use this mini-guide to help you strategize about identifying your first-semester priorities.

How do I search for classes?
Look at our guides (handbook and videos) for searching on Dickinson’s Banner Self-Service (where you will also register for courses) as well as department Advising Guides.

How do I know if a course is considered a 'lab/natural science' and should I take a lab science my first semester?
Consult this Lab Science Advising Guide to help you determine if a course in which you are interested fits the lab/natural science requirement, and you can also consult this document to help you decide if, according to your interests, you should take a lab science course this semester.

When is New Student Advising—and what if I need to change the date/time of my session?
New Student Advising will take place in December and January, by appointment. Please watch your Dickinson email for information and appointment options, then select the time that works best for you.  Any questions should be directed to If you have any questions or concerns please contact the New Student Advising Office at 717-245-1997.

What if I miss my New Student Advising session?
If you missed your New Student Advising session, please email or call the New Student Advising Office at 717-245-1997 (8:30 am-4:30 pm EDT). 

What if I am an international student and/or live abroad?
International students and U.S. citizens living abroad will have sessions by appointment as well, so please check your Dickison email for options and choose a time that works well for your schedule.  We've tried to be very thoughtful about the times sessions are offered to accomodate various timezones.

Who is my Academic Advisor at Dickinson?
Spring 2024 enrollees will be assigned an undeclared advisor from Dickinson's professional advising staff. Your advisor will reach out to you directly about setting up your advising session.

What do I do if there are two courses I am interested in that meet at the same time?
If you are interested in two courses that meet at the same time, you will have to choose between them! Double check to see if there are more sections of one of the courses available at different times. 

What if I have Advanced Credit (AP, A-levels, IB courses, Swiss Maturite Certificate, or SAT II Language exams)?
If you took any advanced credit and would like to receive college credit, please refer to this info sheet to tell you what scores will earn you transfer credit and/or placement.

How do I transfer college credit?
Dickinson allows incoming students to transfer credits from another institution (including college courses taken while in high school), if they meet the following criteria:

  • The institution is an accredited college-level institution.
  • The academic work must be satisfactorily completed with a grade of C or better (2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale)
  • The program of study reasonably parallels the curriculum of Dickinson College.
  • Credit must be documented on an official college/university transcript.

Final determination of credit and the satisfaction of requirements will be made by the Registrar. For more information on credit transfer check out additional information on transferring credits.

What do I need to register for courses?
In order to reegister for courses, you will need a six-digit alternate PIN that you will receive from your advisor, which they will give you during your new student advising call.