Academic Advising FAQ
This page is designed to help you find quick answers and learn how to access to the resources provided by Letters and Sciences.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I meet an advisor?
- What’s the difference between individual advising and drop-in advising?
- What is a Four-Semester Plan and how do I complete one?
- What is an Exploration Activity?
- How should I prepare for my advising appointment?
- What can you expect during your individual advising appointment?
- How can I change my major?
- What do I need to do in order to register for classes?
- How can I get permission to take classes at another institution?
- When and how do I file an exception to academic policy?
- How do I request academic clemency?
All students within Letters and Sciences are assigned to academic advisors and must complete mandatory advising requirements before they will be cleared to register for the upcoming semester. Students are required to meet between 1 to 3 times depending on their class standing and status. The number of required advising appointments are:
- First Semester at UMD: 2 advising meetings required
- Under 30 Credits Students: 2 advising meetings per semester
- Between 30 - 60 Credits: 1 advising meeting per semester
- Students on Probation/Dismissal: 3 advising meetings per semester
Once students know their assigned advisor they should schedule their first appointment within the first month of classes. Current LTSC students schedule an appointment online. Any LTSC student that is not assigned to an advisor may use the published drop-in hours.
- Students that arrive late (more than 9 minutes) for an appointment will be asked to reschedule.
- Students should not wait until last minute to schedule their required appointments. After the mid-point of the semester advisors' calendars fill-up so students that procrastinate may need to wait a week or more to see their advisor.
Individual appointments are opportunities for students to meet with their assigned advisors for 30 minutes to receive advising assistance. Advising appointments must be made in advance and can only be with the student's assigned advisor. Drop-in advising are for students that are not assigned to a specific advisor. Students that are eligible for drop-in hours may obtain 15 minute, same day appointments with LTSC advisors on a first-come first-served basis. Drop-in hours are published on the office's calendar.
All LTSC students are required to complete and have a Four Semester Plan approved before their advising block will be lifted each semester. Every degree granting major has a Four Year Academic Plan that students can use as a guide to complete the Four Semester Plan.
- Students should not wait until last minute to submit a plan for approval. Once submitted advisors may need several days to review and once reviewed, additional changes may be needed.
Each semester LTSC students will be required to explore possible majors or learn more about a particular career they have in mind. These exploration activities may range from taking an introductory major course, attending an information workshop, taking UNIV100, meeting with a department advisor, shadowing a professional in a particular field, or meeting with a career advisor in the Career Center. Students will work with their advisor to determine which type of exploration activity will be appropriate for their situation. If the assigned Exploration Activity is not completed, the student's advising block may not be lifted.
Advising appointments are scheduled to last 30 minutes. Usually, for your first appointment you will not need to bring anything with you. However, feel free to bring a list of topics that you would like to discuss. For appointments that occur before your registration date, you are encouraged to explore possible options for courses that you wish to take and work with your advisor to create a tentative schedule for the following semester.
The first advising appointment should occur within the 1st month of the semester (Fall: mid-September through early-October / Spring: mid-February through early-March). The following topics are covered during the first advising appointment:
- Academic Major Options
- Campus Resources
- Four Semester Plan (if applicable)
- Exploration Activity Option (if applicable)
- Co-curricular Activities
- Individual student concerns
- Possible courses for the next semester
Students should set up their second advising appointment at the conclusion of their first appointment. The second advising appointment should occur before the student’s assigned registration date (Fall: November through early-December / Spring: April through early-May). The following topics are covered during the first advising appointment:
- Registration blocks that will delay their ability to register on time
- Mid-semester grades
- Proposed schedule for the following semester
- Follow up on issues discussed during the first appointment
- Four Semester Plan (if applicable)
- Exploration Activity (if applicable)
At the conclusion of the second appointment, the student’s mandatory advising block will be removed if they have completed all requirements (approved 4 Semester Plan and Exploration Activity on file). Probation students are required to meet 3 times and also need to complete any assigned tangible tactics.
The major declaration process varies by college and department. If you are interested in one of the several majors that are known as Limited Enrollment Programs, you should review the gateway requirements for your major of interest and contact the Limited Enrollment Program office if you have additional questions about being admitted to that major.
For the remaining 90+ majors, you must contact the department directly to register for an appointment or workshop to begin the major change process. Most colleges and departments have this information published on their websites.
In order to register for classes, you must resolve all of your registration blocks. These are some of the most common registration blocks that will prevent you from registering for the next semester.
- Advising Block: This block is assigned to students that have not met with their advisor (either at all or for a second time) during the semester. In order to get this advising block removed, you must contact our office and set up an appointment to meet with your advisor.
- Academic Probation/Dismissal Status Block: Students on academic probation or dismissal must meet with their academic advisor three (3) times during the semester per our Probation/Dismissal Policy. Please note that students on probation or dismissal must also get approval from their advisor for each course they enroll or drop.
- Major Block (Must Declare a Major): This registration block is assigned to LTSC students who have reached 60 credits. Please note that the only way to have this block removed is to declare a degree-granting major.
- Financial Block: This block is assigned to students who have an unpaid student account balance with the University. In order to get this block lifted students must go to the Office of Bursar’s and pay the account balance.
- Fundamental English and/or Math Block: Students who have not completed their Fundamental English and/or Math requirements within their first 30 credits will have this block assigned to them. Students must go in person to the Registrar’s Office (1st floor Mitchell Building) to get this block removed and registered.
- Vaccination Block: All students are required to provide the University an immunization form. If you have not done so, you will need to submit this form to the University Health Center.
If a current Maryland student wishes to take a course at another institution, and have that course and its credits transfer back into Maryland, that student is required to submit a “Permission to Enroll” (PTE) form. By having the course approved, the student (1) assures the credit will absolutely be counted toward graduation at Maryland and (2) will have evidence of permission from Maryland to take the course. Sometimes, especially in Maryland Community Colleges, those institutions will require this approval in order for students to register. To expedite the process students should first check the Transfer Credit Services website to make sure the course transfers to Maryland.
Typically, courses are taken during the summer or winter terms. For students who wish to enroll in courses at another institution during the same semester that they are taking courses at Maryland ("concurrently"), they must also ask for an additional “Exception to Policy” in addition to submitting the PTE form.
Academic policies and deadlines are crafted by the University to ensure integrity and provide equity for all UMCP students. “Exceptions to Policy” are not appropriate solutions for problems students can avoid by taking personal responsibility. Our office considers granting “Exceptions” to students who have made a diligent effort to work within the requirements but who encounter problems that are clearly beyond their control. Exceptions are only given in “rare and extraordinary circumstances” in which a problem is “out of the control of a student and not predictable.”
Consider the reasons for your request very carefully and discuss them with an advisor. Often, an advisor can help you discover solutions that do not require an exception to policy. To proceed with a request you must fill out the on-line Exception to Academic Policy Form.
If a student has been separated from the university for five calendar years (not academic years/semesters) and has reenrolled in pursuit of their initial baccalaureate degree they may request clemency. Up to 16 attempted credits, for courses previously taken at the University of Maryland, can be removed from the cumulative GPA calculation for grades of D+, D, D-, and F. This request must be made within the student's first semester of return to the University.Attempted credits and grades for which clemency is granted will:
- remain on the student's transcript;
- not be used to satisfy degree requirements;
- be excluded in the calculation of Latin Honors; and
- adhere to the institution's repeat guidelines and be included in the student's repeat limits.
Consider the reasons for your request very carefully and discuss them with an advisor. Often, an advisor can help you discover solutions that do not require academic clemency.