Your College Adviser

What Is a College Adviser?

Yale refers to pre-major advisers — whether a faculty or staff member, or whether your  adviser assigned to your by your residential college dean or an adviser you selected after your first term of enrollment, as “college advisers.” After you declare a major, the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) in that major, or the DUS’s designee, becomes your new adviser.

Your College Adviser

Your college adviser is a Yale faculty or staff member affiliated with your residential college who has volunteered to help you think through your academic interests and aspirations. Your college adviser will receive your name from your residential college dean in late August — you’ll receive their name at more or less the same time.

You will have an opportunity to meet with your college adviser during First-Year Orientation, at the end of August. After your first meeting, you and your college adviser may choose to set up a second meeting during add/drop period or later in the fall term.  

Your initial meeting with your college adviser will focus generally on

  • your academic and extracurricular interests
  • your goals for your first year (see the section on goals for Yale College’s ideas about good goals for the first year)

Your adviser will offer guidance about

  • constructive ways to think about your first year at Yale
  • how to get the most out of your first year at Yale 
  • how to construct a sensible overall schedule (see Choosing Courses for more on that topic)

Your college adviser is also available to help you think through larger questions and plans, and direct you to relevant resources.

Your adviser may not share your exact academic interests at the moment, but this need not limit the value of your conversations: it’s quite possible that, as you explore the Yale curriculum, your academic interests may change, and your college adviser has been paired with you by your dean for any number of reasons (outside interests, current job, home state, or other reasons, including area of expertise).

The advising process will repeat itself in the spring term.  Again, you will hear from your college adviser at the beginning of the term, but you are also encouraged to reach out to your adviser, as you wish

During your first year at Yale, as you develop a program of study and refine your thoughts about academics and other interests, your college adviser will continue to be available and you should feel free to set up meetings when you need to.

Specific information about course placement and content, or details about academic requirements, is best obtained through departmental advisers— especially the directors of undergraduate studies (DUSes) in your fields of interest — but also from your college dean, your freshman counselor, web sites, or publications.

Click here for information on selecting a new college adviser.

How to Prepare for Your First Meeting with Your College Adviser

To prepare for your first (and subsequent) meeting with your college adviser, it is helpful to reflect on a few points and to be prepared to share information with him or her:

  • What was your high school and your high school experience like?
  • What made you decide on Yale?
  • What are your goals for your first year here?
  • Where do you see yourself in four years?
  • What else interests you besides academics?
  • What is important for your adviser to know about you so that he or she may get to know you holistically?
  • What do you want to know about your adviser, his or her field, and tips for navigating Yale?
first-year Counselors (“Frocos”)

First-Year counselors are seniors who live near you so as to be sources of information and assistance throughout the year. Your froco will offer suggestions about curricular and extracurricular choices, take an interest in your concerns, and give you firsthand advice on how best to use the academic and other resources of your residential college and of Yale College. See First-Year Counselors for more information.

where to find your college adviser’s name
​what does your college adviser know about you?
  • Name, residential college, home address, name and location of high school
  • Your answers to the advising portion of the summer  Housing & Advising Survey 
  • High school transcript (sometimes)
  • Your Yale email address
  • Your fall and spring grades, when posted
  • Your ID photo