Advising at the Midterm and End-of-Term


End-of Term

Helpful Details to Remember throughout the Year


It’s recommended that college advisers take the opportunity to check in with their advisees before the midterm date, fall and spring (see the Yale College Calendar with Pertinent Deadlines). You might consider emailing to invite them to join you for lunch in your residential college, or set up advising office hours or a another sort of meeting.

By building on the relationships you established during the first few weeks of the term, you may learn how your advisees are faring in their ongoing transition to college life. It’s not unusual to discover that a first-year student is struggling but has not considered getting a tutor for a given course. Or that one a student is struggling to manage a difficult situation but hasn’t considered dropping a course or limiting extracurricular involvement. In your role as college adviser, you may refer those students to the Center for Teaching and Learning or the Center for Language Study for tutoring, or to their residential college dean for a discussion of options when struggling to manage one’s first term at Yale. The Center for Teaching and Learning’s extensive tutoring programs provide one-on-one support in writing, science, and quantitative reasoning (including for most introductory courses in mathematics, economics, and the natural sciences), while the Center for Language Study provides language tutoring. The dean of your residential college can describe these programs for you or your advisees in much more detail. 

You might also inquire about study habits, efficient organization of their work week, and realistic allotment of study time to different types of courses. The CTL’s “Academic Strategies” program offers workshops on these topics and more.  Ask your advisees whether they have written any papers, and if so, consider whether the experience they describe suggests that they would benefit from working with the Bass Writing Tutors. Also, be sure to remember that the habits for academic citation that your students learned in high school may not meet the standards to which we hold students at Yale. Encourage them to visit the Writing Center’s website, which contains much helpful information about writing academic papers. 

Some students may need to discuss their situation more closely with their residential college dean; others may be helped by Yale Health’s Student Wellness Program, or by programs in the Chaplain’s Office. Or it may be that the best way for a student to manage a difficult situation is to drop a course, or limit extracurricular involvement.

Lastly, consider referring your advisees to the midterm and final exam study tips in the Courses and Majors section of this website.


As you can imagine, stress levels run high at the end of each term. Late November until late December feature several important appointments that make up the “early registration” (preregistration) period.

For fall terms, that includes:

  • online make-up placement exams (for students who missed the summer online placement exams), particularly in languages and math
  • application period for First-Year Seminars (for first-year students)
  • application period for limited-enrollment courses (for all students)
  • preregistration deadline (for all students)

► Dates, deadlines, and a full calendar may be found on the University Registrar’s Office’s Registration Resources website.

The early registration period also features an advising period, generally the week prior to the deadline for students to submit their early registration schedules.

Starting a few weeks before the end of a term, as your first-year advisees begin reflecting on the term that’s coming to a close and thinking ahead to the term to come, they will benefit from an encouraging email from you, should you care to send one. You might offer your help, or perhaps suggest a lunchtime meeting or a coffee break (virtual or in-person, depending on the health and safety conditions) to discuss study strategies. You might also direct them to the midterm and final exam study tips in the Courses and Majors section of this website, which contains study and test-taking tips developed for first-year students in their first term at Yale. 

In a fall term, your email might let your advisees know that you will be available to talk to them again during add/drop period at the beginning of the the spring term; in a spring term, you can repeat that message with regard to the subsequent fall add/drop period.

What you write is not as important as the very fact that you have written.

Some advisees respond to our efforts to reach out and some don’t. Regardless, please know that your efforts as part of their “constellation of advisers” are important, and appreciated.

Helpful Details to Remember throughout the Year

Distributional Requirements for the First Year

First-year students need 8 credits for promotion at the end of the second term of enrollment.

Also by the end of the second term of enrollment, students must have enrolled for 

  • at least one course credit in two of the three skills categories (WR, QR, and foreign language) in order to be eligible for promotion to sophomore standing

Note that course credit from outside Yale may not be applied toward the distributional requirements for the first year.

For details regarding the distributional requirement for the bachelor’s degree and the milestones students must meet along the way, see Distributional Requirements in the Yale College Programs of Study.

Credit/D/Fail Option

The Credit/D/Fail option was established to encourage experimentation and to promote diversity in students’ programs of study. Complete information about this option is contained in the Yale College Programs of Study. Some of the pertinent restrictions are the following:

  • Up to six of the thirty-six credits required for the bachelor’s degree may be earned under the Credit/D/Fail option (two of those six must be used during the first year and expire at the end of the “freshman” year)
    • However, no course credit earned on a Credit/D/Fail basis may be applied toward satisfaction of the distributional requirements.
  • No more than two credits per term may be taken under the Credit/D/Fail option, and at least two credits must be taken for letter grades each term.

For other guidelines, including rules governing when during the term students may elect the Credit/D/Fail option, see Credit/D/Fail Option.

Deadlines and Academic Options to Keep in Mind

• The election of a new course after the end of add/drop period is ordinarily not permitted. On advice of an instructor, however, a student may change course levels (e.g., from French 140 down to French 130 or up to French 150).

• Students may withdraw from a course at any time before the first day of reading period. If the withdrawal takes place by midterm, the student’s transcript will not show that the student was enrolled in the course. Withdrawal after midterm results in the assignment of a “W” (Withdraw) on the transcript.

• If students have questions about acceleration, refer them to the residential college dean.

Science, Engineering, and Premedical Students

Students interested in the sciences or engineering and students wishing to pursue a premedical program often need special advice. In these cases it is recommended that, in the second term of enrollment, such students elect the DUS of their prospective major as their adviser.

Students interested in the health care professions will find helpful information and advice from the Health Professions Advisory Program.

International Experience Options

Yale actively encourages students to gain international experience in the course of their undergraduate careers and has many avenues for pursuing this option. From a term or year abroad, to a summer of language study or internship abroad, Yale has advising and financial resources to help students gain exposure to the broader world. The advisers in the Office of International Education and Fellowship Programs can help students define their interests and find programs or funding that will benefit them.

As a college adviser to first-years, you can assist in this process by reminding your advisees that they should continue their language study if at all possible to maximize the likelihood that such opportunities will be available to them. You might also remind them that courses taken abroad in the sophomore year may be used to fulfill distributional and major requirements, so studying abroad need not mean a break in progress toward the degree.

Yale Summer Session also provides many international experience options for the summer between the first year and the sophomore year; all YSS courses automatically appear on the Yale College transcript.