How to Prepare for Meetings with Your College Adviser (and other advising opportunities)

Who Are College Advisers?

Your college adviser is a Yale faculty member, staff member, or administrator affiliated with your residential college who has volunteered to help you adjust to and navigate Yale, and to discuss your academic interests and aspirations. You will meet him or her for the first time during registration period. Your college adviser will most likely contact you (by email), but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t email him or her first.

Initial meetings with your college adviser will usually focus generally on your background, high school experience, academic and extracurricular interests, and your goals for your first year. More specific information about course levels and content, or details about academic requirements, is available through departmental advisers (like the directors of undergraduate studies), web sites, publications, or your college dean. However, your college adviser can offer guidance about constructive ways to think about, and to get the most out of, your first year Yale, as well as tips for constructing a sensible overall schedule for your first year.

Your adviser is there to help you think through larger questions and plans, and direct you to relevant resources. He or she may not share your academic interests at the moment, but his or her areas of expertise need not limit the value of your conversations — and it’s also quite possible that, as you explore the Yale curriculum, your academic interests may change. As you develop your program of study during your first year, your adviser can continue to serve as a conversation partner.

How to Prepare for Meetings with Your College Adviser

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

  • Where do you come from?
  • What brought you to 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?
  • What do you want to know about your adviser, his or her field, and tips for navigating Yale?

Other Advisers in the Yale “Constellation of Advisers”

First-year Counselors

First-year counselors are seniors who live near you to be sources of information and assistance throughout the year. Your counselors can offer suggestions about curricular and extracurricular choices, take an interest in your concerns, and give 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.

Departmental Advising, Directors of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) and the Academic Fair

During your first few days on campus, a number of activities will help you get the academic year started. For example, you will have the opportunity to hear faculty presentations at departmental meetings, to sign up for sections of courses, to take placement tests, to consult directors of undergraduate studies, and to attend orientation sessions led by the Health Professions Advisory Program or the Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE).

Each academic department has a director of undergraduate studies (DUS), with whom you may discuss the department”s course offerings and major requirements. Contact information for each DUS is printed by department in Yale College Programs of Study (the YCPS, or “Blue Book”), and a separate list of DUSes is available on the Yale College Website. Large departments may also have departmental representatives in the residential colleges; the YCPS lists the names of these representatives.

A particularly important opportunity to gather information about academic programs is the annual Academic Fair, held in Linsley-Chittenden (LC) and William H. Harkness Halls (WLH) on the Tuesday afternoon before fall classes begin. At this event, directors of undergraduate studies and faculty members from most academic programs and departments will be available to offer you guidance about courses, placement, and prerequisites for majors. The fair provides excellent opportunities to gather information and advice from a broad range of sources, and you are strongly urged to attend.