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Is my academic advisor the right person to ask?

Your academic advisor (also often called a faculty advisor since all academic advisors in SEAS are faculty members) is listed in Path@Penn. Your academic advisor’s primary role is to give you advice. For instance, they can discuss career plans with you, help you decide between different courses you are interested in, or help you if you feel overwhelmed or are getting bad grades.

However, your advisor is not omniscient or omnipotent. They can’t raise your CU limit or rearrange courses on your Path worksheet. They probably won’t know whether CIS 1234 counts towards the XYZ requirement or all the rules around pass/fail courses. The answers to many of these “regulatory” questions are documented in articles here and in the SEAS Undergraduate Handbook. The CIS Advising staff are the people with Path@Penn superpowers.

Do I need a meeting?

Not all questions require a synchronous meeting. Some common requests that can often be done asynchronously via email:

  • Simple questions. Sending an email will often get you a faster response to simple questions than waiting for a meeting.
  • Advance registration sign-off. If you need your advisor to clear you for Advance Registration (AR), but you already know what you want to take and have only questions that can be resolved via email, please just send an email to your advisor. If everything looks good, they can then clear you for AR.

Preparing for the meeting

To get the most out of your meeting, it is important that you prepare a bit by doing the following:

Now, you are ready to schedule the meeting!

Scheduling the meeting

Many faculty members use a web-based appointment booking service. This makes it very easy to find a slot that works for both you and your advisor. Please check the table below; if your advisor is listed, just click on the link next to their name:

If your advisor’s name is not in the table, you should contact them by email. Unless specified otherwise, meetings will be in your advisor’s office; if you are not sure where that is, please have a look at your advisor’s web page.

What if I am late or can’t make the meeting?

Once you’ve scheduled a meeting, please do make an effort to be there on time. Your advisor will have many other meetings scheduled (especially during the busy Advance Registration period), so if you are late it may eat shorten your meeting time.

If you really can’t make it to the meeting, e.g., because you are sick, please let your advisor know as soon as possible. If they are using a web-based booking service (see above), you may be able to cancel or reschedule the meeting. Otherwise, please send your advisor an email, explain why you can’t make it to the meeting, and ask whether they can reschedule.