Academic Advising

Academic advising is an important component of the educational program at Case Western Reserve University.  Advisors assist students as they explore academic opportunities at the university, select courses, and develop a holistic plan for their undergraduate experience and preparation for life after college.  Each student is assigned both a faculty advisor and a four-year advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Support Office.

The advising model at Case Western Reserve aims to balance generalist and field-specific advising, shifting the balance as students progress through their undergraduate careers. At the beginning, the student's pre-major faculty advisor provides generalist academic advising until the student declares a major.  At the same time, representatives from each major and minor are available to provide field-specific advice as a student decides on an area of focus. Once a student declares a major, the emphasis shifts to major-focused advising with a faculty advisor assigned in that field to guide the student in the construction of an academic plan and to monitor the student's progress in pursuit of that plan. Throughout their undergraduate career, the student's four-year advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Support Office is available to provide general information and advice, to address concerns that fall outside of the pursuit of a specific major, and to help the student develop an overall plan that places their academic experience in the broader context of opportunities at the university and beyond.

Students are expected to initiate and maintain regular contact with their advisors to address curricular and career concerns, and to review progress towards graduation.  At a minimum, students are expected to meet with academic advisors when declaring a major or minor, before registering for classes each semester, and when making corrections to their academic requirements reports.

Advising during the First Year

During a student’s first year at Case Western Reserve, they are assigned a faculty pre-major advisor.  Each student and their advisor are expected to explore the student’s academic interests and concerns, as well as educational and career goals, and to seek expert information and advice about academic policies and procedures and about specific academic programs from the student's participation in the Explore program, the General Bulletin, newsletters and websites, the academic representatives designated as first year resources in the majors and minors, and other sources of advice and counseling on campus.  Four-year advisors in the Undergraduate Advising Support Office, along with staff in the Career Center, Academic Support Resources for Students, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the University Health & Counseling Services, Disability Resources, and specialized programs such as Co-op (co-operative education), the Office of Education Abroad, the Office of International Student Resources and Engagement, and the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning (community service), are available to support first-year students and their advisors through Explore programming, publications, websites, experiential learning opportunities, and individual communications.

Advising in the Majors and Minors

When a student selects a specific major or minor, the academic representative of that major or minor assigns a faculty advisor to the student.  Although some first-year undergraduates enter with definite goals, they are not assigned advisors in the majors until they have declared their major.  Students who are ready to declare a major may do so beginning in November of their first year (April for those who matriculate at CWRU in the spring semester).  Students engaging in further exploration of majors are expected to declare a major no later than March 31 or October 31 of their second semester of enrollment.  A student may change majors later as they explore and learn about other fields of study, and they will be assigned a new advisor from the new major.  (See Declaring a Major in the section on Academic Policies and Procedures).  Opportunities for exploring majors and minors include a Choices Fair, departmental information sessions as part of the Explore program, and individual conversations with faculty and academic advisors.

Undergraduate Advising Support Office

The Undergraduate Advising Support Office serves as a hub to provide guidance in all aspects of being an undergraduate student at Case Western Reserve, including academic information related to undergraduate enrollment and degree programs.  Each student is able to establish a multi-year relationship with their four-year advisor, who is assigned during the summer before matriculation and continues to work with the student through the completion of degree requirements.  Four-year advisors are available to answer student and faculty questions about university rules, practices, programs, and resources and to refer students to other offices and opportunities, as appropriate.