Advising at the Midterm and End of Term; Helpful Details for Advising throughout the Year


End of Term

Helpful Details to Remember throughout the Year



It’s recommended that college advisers meet with their advisees around the midterm, fall and spring (see the Yale College Calendar with Pertinent Deadlines) to check in on their course work, extracurricular activities, and general state of mind. 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.

It’s not unusual to discover that sophomores struggled through their first year without considering getting a tutor, so bringing up tutoring now is still timely. You might also discover that your advisees are struggling to manage a difficult situation but haven’t considered dropping a course, choosing the Credit/D/Fail option, or limiting their extracurricular involvement.

In your role as college adviser, you may refer those students to the Poorvu 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 academics.

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 Poorvu Center’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.

Some students may be helped by Yale Health’s Student Wellness Program, or by programs in the Chaplain’s Office. Lastly, consider referring your advisees to the midterm and final exam study tips in the Courses and Majors section of this website.

By building on the relationships you established over the course of this year — and, for some advisers to sophomores, the relationships you established last year, when your advisees were first-years — you can best support your advisees as the complete their fourth semester on campus.

end of term

As you can imagine, stress levels run high at the end of each term (late November until late December). The usual end-of-term commitments, such as final papers, exams, and projects also coincide with the early registration period for the spring term

For fall terms, that includes:

  • online make-up placement exams (for students who missed the summer online placement exams), particularly in languages and math
  • Preference Selection and anapplication period for limited-enrollment courses
  • early registration deadline for spring courses

The Registration Resources website, run by the University Registrar’s Office, contains deadlines for the above and more, as well as FAQs and guides to registration matters for students, faculty, and staff.

The early registration period also overlaps with an advising period for first-year students and sophomores with their college advisers and the directors of undergraduate studies in their prospective majors.

Starting a few weeks before the end of a term, as your advisees begin reflecting on the term that’s coming to a close and thinking ahead to the term to come, they would benefit from an encouraging email from you, should you care to send one. You might offer your help, or perhaps suggest a lunchtime meeting, a coffee break, or a virtual meeting, 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. 

If the fall term, your email might let your sophomore advisees know that you will available to talk to them again during Add/Drop period at the beginning of the the spring term. If the spring term, you might let them know that you are available to discuss selection of a major and, if your advisees have a prospective major in mind, you might  let them know that you enjoyed advising them and remind them that the DUS take over as their adviser once they declare a major.

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 Sophomore Year

Sophomores need 16 credits for promotion at the end of the fourth term of enrollment.

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

  • at least one course credit in each of the three disciplinary areas (Hu, Sc, and So)
  • at least one course credit in each of the three skills categories (WR, QR, and foreign language)

in order to be eligible for promotion to junior standing.

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
    • However, no course credit earned on a Credit/D/Fail basis may be applied toward satisfaction of the distributional requirements.
    • (First-year students  have two additionalCredit/D/Fail options that expire at the end of the first year of enrollment)
  • 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 new rules governing when during the term students may elect the Credit/D/Fail option, see Credit/D/Fail Option.

Academic Options to Keep in Mind

Students may withdraw from a course or select the Credit/D/Fail option for a course at any time before the first day of reading period. If a course 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 notation of “W” 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 such students select the DUS of their intended major as their sophomore adviser. Such students are also advised to declare their major at the end of their first year or early in their sophomore year.

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 junior term 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 sophomore academic adviser, you can assist in this process by reminding sophomores 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 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.