Academic and Career Advising
(From the 2011–13 Undergraduate Catalog)
Academic and career advising is an integral part of undergraduate education. Advisors help students find the resources and tools that enable them to explore, define, and accomplish their academic and career goals. Students may consider working with several advisors depending on these goals. Each school, college, or program offers academic and career advising services. An academic advisor is assigned to each undergraduate student. Students who participate in special programs such as the Academic Advancement Proram (AAP), TRIO Student Support Services, honors, or athletics (to name a few) may also have auxiliary advisors. Students can check their advisor assignment(s) online through the Student Center information in My UW–Madison.
Regardless of how each school, college, or program organizes its academic or career advising services, advisors play a significant role in student success and retention. It is the student's responsibility to take advantage of advising services and associated resources. Advising offices have different preferences and procedures for communicating and setting up appointments.
Every student is assigned to one of the schools and colleges, depending on his or her major or program of interest. For students who are still deciding on a major, the Cross-College Advising Service is the primary academic advising resource.
The Cross-College Advising Service, 10 Ingraham Hall, 265-5460, is a campuswide advising service for undergraduates who are undecided about a major and want to explore the many academic opportunities on campus. CCAS also assists students who are considering changing majors or who have not been admitted to limited-enrollment programs and need to explore other options. CCAS advisors are knowledgeable about all the programs and majors offered by the nine undergraduate schools and colleges on campus. Each year at SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration), approximately one-third of the students in the entering class self-identify as “undecided/exploring” and are assigned to CCAS advisors.
In addition to the main CCAS office in Ingraham Hall, CCAS has residence hall advising offices in Chadbourne Residential College, Sellery Hall, Witte Hall, and the Bradley Learning Community. The Bradley office is available to all students in Lakeshore-area residence halls. During the enrollment period, CCAS offers numerous evening group advising sessions around campus. CCAS also provides career exploration activities to help students make decisions about academic direction and future careers. The CCAS Exploration Center offers computerized career planning programs, books and other reference materials, a video career library, and special-interest workshops held throughout the academic year.
The Degree Audit Reporting System is part of UW–Madison’s commitment to academic advising for undergraduate students. An automated summary of a student's academic progress toward a degree, a DARS report, is particularly helpful when combined with the personal wisdom and insight of skilled advisors. DARS reports should always be reviewed with transcripts.
Most students may order a DARS report on the Web through My UW–Madison at my.wisc.edu on the Student Records tab. This report becomes increasingly important as a student first decides on a particular college, then determines a particular major or combination of majors, and finally approaches graduation. DARS shows which requirements have already been completed and which remain unsatisfied. The report can offer suggestions about appropriate courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements.
DARS is not intended to replace students’ contact with academic advisors. Instead, the quick and thorough analysis provided by DARS allows more time in an advising appointment to discuss course options, research opportunities, plans for graduate school, or issues of personal interest or concern to students. Some schools and colleges do not use DARS. Students should check with their dean's office or the registrar to learn whether their college or school can provide them with a DARS report and, if available, how one can be requested. DARS may be helpful in showing how completed or in-progress courses may be used in different degree programs. Students interested in exploring options in other schools/colleges or other majors within a school/college should meet with an academic advisor.