Advising Guides

Advising is an important part of the undergraduate program at Boston College. To help you make the most of your academic experience, the Academic Advising Center has prepared the following guides for each year of your undergraduate career in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

 

The Academic Advising Center at Boston College is committed to helping you navigate your academic program successfully. Here are some suggestions for making the most of the advising experience as a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

The First Meeting

When you meet with your advisor for the first time, come prepared with:

  • A list of the classes you would like to take, with several back-up choices in case your first choices aren’t available;
  • Questions regarding classes and majors;
  • Your long-term academic plan.

Topics for Discussion

Be prepared to talk about the following subjects when you meet with your advisor.

Your Future

As a first-year student, you don’t have to be certain about your career path—but you should start thinking about it. Before you meet with your advisor, identify your interests and try to envision where you’ll be in the next four years and beyond.

The Core

Core courses may help you decide on a major or a long-term interest, but their deeper purpose is to broaden your perspective. Acquaint yourself with the Core requirements, and discuss with your advisor when and how you might fulfill them. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I understand the Core requirements?
  • Which parts of the Core should I pursue first?
  • Which Core classes have I placed out of with my AP or IB scores?

Course Registration

Find out when the undergraduate registration period begins and ends, and prepare for your pre-registration advising meeting by considering the following:

  • Will any of my courses have a discussion group, and do I need to register for that separately?
  • If there are multiple sections of the same course, will the course vary with each professor, or does each professor teach the same material?

Extracurricular Interests

Your advisor may have suggestions about extracurricular activities that would support your academic and long-term interests. Here are some questions to ask your advisor:

  • What opportunities are available to students with academic interests similar to mine?
  • What non-academic extracurricular opportunities are available to me?

Your Major

Be prepared to talk about potential majors and minors. If you have a major in mind, you might ask your advisor:

  • What are the requirements for the major I’m considering?
  • In what order should I take the required courses?
  • How do I add, drop, or change my major?
  • How do I declare a minor?

Advanced Study Grants

Advanced Study Grants provide funding for you to pursue your interests and goals by designing and completing a project of your own. Some questions to ask your advisor:

  • What are advanced study grants?
  • What different kinds of advanced study grants are available?
  • How do I apply for one?

Sophomore year is a particularly important time in your academic program at Boston College. Make the most of your advising experience by preparing yourself to discuss the following subjects when you meet with your advisor.

Your Future

Try to identify specific, measurable, realistic, and time-bound goals for your education and your career. Articulate your interests, and think about where you’d like to go in the next three years and beyond.

The Core

As you progress through the Core Curriculum, think about the classes and disciplines that have most engaged you, and take these into account when choosing a major.

Ask yourself:

  • Which Core requirements do I have left to fulfill?
  • How should I fulfill those requirements?

Your Major

As a sophomore, you’ll need to declare your major if you haven’t already, so now is the time to identify the field of study that you are genuinely excited about. Some questions to ask your advisor:

  • How do I declare a major or minor?
  • What are the requirements for my major(s) and minor(s)?
  • How should I fulfill those requirements?
  • Who should I contact if I have further questions about my major?

Studying Abroad

An international experience can be life changing. If you’re interested in studying abroad, sophomore year is the time to Investigate BC’s many study-abroad options. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What destinations are available?
  • Do I want to study abroad for a full year, a semester, or the summer?
  • Does an international experience fit into my academic plan?
  • Will I be able to fulfill my major and Core requirements if I study abroad?
  • Will I have the necessary GPA?
  • How do I make an appointment to see a study abroad advisor?

Advanced Study Grants

Advanced Study Grants provide funding for you to pursue your interests and goals by designing and completing an independent project. Some questions to ask your advisor:

  • What are advanced study grants?
  • What different kinds of advanced study grants are available?
  • How do I apply for one?

Internships

It’s never too early to explore the Career Center. Be sure to ask your advisor about internships related to your field of study, and explore semester internships through your academic department.

As a junior at Boston College, you’re probably well on your way to completing your Core and major requirements. Many juniors study abroad, participate in internships or research opportunities, or prepare to write their thesis. Here are some important topics to discuss with your advisor.

Your Future

Now that you’re an upperclassman, it’s time to start thinking more seriously about your future. Do you plan to pursue another degree after graduation, or enter the work force directly after graduation?

Studying Abroad

If you’re studying abroad, work out as many course-related details as you can before you go. When you return, reflect on your experiences and what you learned from them. Some questions for your advisor:

  • What courses should I take while I’m abroad?
  • How do I get these courses approved?
  • How do I contact my advisor while I’m out of the country?

The Core

By the end of junior year, you should have completed most of your Core requirements. If you haven’t, make a plan to fulfill them in time for graduation. If you’re studying abroad, you may be able to fulfill some requirements at your international destination.

Your Major

  • Your major requirements should be well in hand by the end of junior year. Ask yourself:
  • Do I have any requirements left to fulfill? If so, how will I finish them in time for graduation?
  • If I’m going abroad, can I fulfill any requirements abroad?

Internships

Junior year is a great time to take on an internship. Boston College offers a wealth of resources to help you find the internship of your dreams: Attend a Career Fair, speak to a Career Center advisor, and find out if your major department supports any semester-long internships.

Thesis

If you’re interested in writing a thesis, investigate topics and options with your advisor and your department. Be sure to consider how a thesis would fit into the classes you still need to take.

Electives

Independent research is a great way to be involved in your chosen field of study. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are readings and research courses available?
  • Can I do research in a lab for course credit?

In your final year as an undergraduate at Boston College, you’ll need to complete the requirements for your degree and make plans for graduate school or a career. Here are some topics to discuss with your advisor during your senior year.

Your Future

Your college graduation is just around the corner. Plan accordingly! Continue to refine your interests and your vision for next year and beyond.

Major and Core Requirements

If you have any requirements left for your major, your minor, or the Core Curriculum, complete them!

Thesis

If you’re writing a thesis, be sure to explore honors such as Scholar of the College so that you can be recognized for your hard work. Also, make sure you know how many credits you’ll receive for your thesis.

Electives

Conducting independent research is a great way to showcase your skills to potential employers or grad schools. If possible, collaborate with a professor on your research. It’s an excellent way to establish a strong mentoring relationship. Some questions to consider:

  • Are readings and research courses available?
  • Can I do research in a lab for course credit?
  • Is there a specific professor with whom I would be interested in developing an independent project?

Jobs and Internships

As you explore jobs and internships during your senior year, take your plans for the future into account. Some things to consider:

  • What courses can I take that are relevant to my career goals?
  • What jobs are available to people within my major?
  • Does my major department support semester internships for course credit?

Graduate School

Applying to graduate school is a long process. Seek help from any and all Boston College students, faculty, and even parents – you’ll be glad you did. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What advice do you have about the application process?
  • Which graduate schools have strong departments in my field?