The Academic Advising Center
Resources and support for undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences
Choosing a major, the Core, electives, dropping courses, AP credit, and more.
Who your advisors will be and what to expect in your relationship with them.
Important dates for you to keep an eye on throughout the year.
Video: Envisioning Your Academic Life
Christopher Kirby, Senior, Arts and Science:
Hello, and welcome to Boston College my name is Chris Kirby I'm a senior Philosophy major in the College of the Arts and Sciences. In four years, you will find yourselves very much where I am today with great opportunities ahead of you and a great education behind you. But just how do you get from now to then? How do you decide on which classes to take? Which major to choose? And which path to follow? Here's Vice Provost Donald Hafner to help give you a closer look into academic life here at Boston College.
Donald Hafner, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Student Affairs:
The aim of education at Boston College is not just simply that our students will come to know many things but that they will become a certain kind of person. A person who recognizes that in all dimensions of our lives, in our careers, in our family lives, in our lives in the community that all of those dimensions pose puzzles and have moral significance, and that the way to understand those puzzles and to deal with them and understand the moral significance is to pull together the intellectual and the social and the spiritual experiences that we've had in our lives. That's our ambition for all of our students here at Boston College and they can achieve that ambition, but it does require careful thought and a sense of purpose, and above all taking advantage of good academic advising.
Grace Lee, Sophomore, Arts and Sciences
We as students sometimes think of the Core as something to just get out of the way. However, Father Maddigan can help you see it in a different light.
Aurthur Madigan, S.J., Chairperson, Philosophy Department:
The Boston College Undergraduate Core Program is a set of fifteen required courses, most of them three credit courses, a bit more than one-third of the courses and credits required for graduation. It will give you exposure to a wide range of possible majors, but more than that it is really a series of self-tranforming activities. If you take them seriously, they will help you develop yourself in ways you can barely imagine.
David Tadros, Sophomore, Arts and Sciences:
Your core and major classes are only one component of your liberal arts education here at Boston College. But what exactly is a liberal arts education and how does it extend beyond the classroom? Here is Dean Quigley to answer that question.
David Quigley, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences:
As a university in the Jesuit Catholic tradition, Boston College was founded in and has long been committed to a liberal arts education. BC, our faculty, our administration, are committed to providing our undergraduates with the best, most rigorous, most engaging possible experience in their four years of undergraduate studies. Whether a student is in the College of the Arts and Sciences, my school, or in the the three other undergraduate colleges here at the university; they will be exposed to many courses across the curriculum, in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Our thinking is the habits of mind that one cultivates in that range of courses, forty or so credits, forty sometimes plus credits across the first several years of ones undergraduate studies. It is the best possible foundation for eventual study in a particular discipline and for a lifetime of learning beyond campus.
Rhada Patel, Junior, Arts and Sciences:
The truth is it's hard to make all of these decisions completely on your own. That's where the Academic Advising Center comes in as a place to cultivate long lasting relationships that will help guide you through your undergraduate academic experience. Dr. Sarr, the director of the center, will explain further.
Akua Sarr, Director, Academic Advising Center:
At the Academic Advising Center, we help students to discern their intellectual interests and to discover the things that they are most passionate about. We want you to become men and women for others. We will help you to select courses, but more importantly we want you to take the time to reflect upon your intellectual gifts and talents.
Christopher Kirby, Senior, Arts and Science:
Four years ago, I came into Boston College as a Biology major, but I will soon graduate with a Philosophy degree. I was able to make this transition and discover my passions through the help of my advisor and the Academic Advising Center. They have been there throughout my undergraduate life, to listen to any questions I may have had and to provide me with answers. I encourage you to take advantage of all the exceptional resources they have to offer. The Academic Advising Center is always there to listen and to help guide you along your journey here at Boston College.
The Advising Experience
Senior English Major | Amy describes her decision to change from communications to English half way through her college career.
Transcript: After high school, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do in college. I wanted to major in communications with a focus on journalism. I believed that college would be easier if I already had a career path in mind, but it was not that simple. I came in to freshman year as a declared communications major, but I soon realized that my specific career goals were clouding my academic interests. I sat in on an English class during drop/add period my sophomore year and I loved it. I researched the English major, talked to a few advisors and made my decision to switch. I was so nervous to start a new major halfway through my college career. Questioning was this the right choice? Would I have enough time? And would it affect my abroad experience? However, it was the best decision both for my academic interests and for my future career goals.
Sophomore Communications Major | Cinique narrates how he discovered that majoring in Communications was the best fit for him.
Transcript: Graduating from high school was a huge pinnacle in my life and getting my acceptance to Boston College was even bigger. Once I enrolled, I knew that I was going to be a Boston College Political Science major and graduate into the road of a politician. As I watch addendums and legislation roll through the thoughts of my future, my freshman year catered to all the classes that would be necessary for me to achieve this goal. However, as I sat in my classes, nothing felt right. I didn't like the topics as much as I thought I would have, and my path began to look muddled. Being a part of a freshman topic seminar in the Communication department and advising coming up at the same time, I realized I wasn't doing what I loved more than a Godsend. I talked to my academic advisor, who was a professor in the Communication department, and she not only assured me that changing my major would be okay but beneficial to my ultimate path of law. The best decision that I have made this far at Boston College was switching to my Communication major. I love the classes, the professor, the advisement, and the feeling that I know that it gives me that I'm doing something worth my while.
Senior Biology Major - Dana talks about taking non-science classes alongside his pre-med studies.
Transcript: I came to Boston College set on a career in medicine, which made Biology a natural choice major for me. I've certainly been challenged through my four years as a Biology major, and I've had to sacrifice a lot of my time for the sake of studying and writing lab reports. However, I don't think that the rigor has prevented me from enjoying my studies. I continued to be highly intrigued by the processes and reactions, which produce life and I anticipate spending four more years studying those as I await replies to my med school applications. I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to pursue my interests outside of the sciences, afforded to me by the core curriculum and electives. I strongly believe that having learned about sociological determinants, Confucian ethics, and the history of modern China will better enable me to relate to my patients long into the future. I chose to major in Biology both, because of my fascination with life and my career goal. Yet, I was not confined to the sciences as a result of that decision.
Junior Sociology Major | Alana describes how she chose her major in the social sciences.
Transcript: I originally came to Boston College declared as Psychology major. I had never taken a course in Psychology before, but assumed that I'd be interested in Human Development and social interaction and I was afraid to enter college with an undeclared major. I took a few introductory courses in the major, but decided that I might like to study human development on the macro level rather than the micro level. For that reason, I decided to take a sociology course in the fall of my sophomore year to try it out. I took Intro to Sociology and realized that I liked the focus, which was more on social justice and the role of humans in society. I switched majors shortly thereafter, which also encouraged me to pursue other areas of study and declare a minor in International Studies. My academic focus completely changed after finding what I was passionate about. I also received guidance from the Academic Advising Center through this process and getting the right advice has helped me take classes I really enjoy and hopefully will help me earn a degree that fits my passion and makes me proud.
Junior Psychology/Neuroscience Major | Rui talks about making the decision combine Pre-Med with a BS in Psychology.
Transcript: As a graduate of a Jesuit high school, I wanted to be able to attend a Jesuit university. I am a Pre-Med student and major in Psychology, the neuroscience concentration. At the beginning, I had trouble in realizing what my major was going to be, but there was one thing that was set. That was that I was always going to be Pre-Med and have a career in medicine as a physician. I started out as a Biochemistry major and later had advisors guide me in what classes I needed to take. I took a Psychology class freshman year and quickly fell in love with the subject. Though I still wanted to be a science major, I sought the help of advisors and quickly realized that I can get a B.S. in Psychology. This was due to the concentrations that were developed in the department. With a strong basis in the sciences, psychology, and the core, I can say that my education has been well-rounded. From learning about Aristotle to the Incan Civilizations to the chemical processes that make up our everyday life, it has truly been an adventure and benefit toward my future endeavors.