Undergraduate Student Handbook

Advising Overview

Academic planning covers a wide range of topics, including choosing a major, registering for classes, and defining career goals. While the ultimate decision rests with you, the student, the Penn Engineering undergraduate advising system is designed to support and guide you while making these important choices.

All Penn Engineering undergraduates have many advising resources. At a minimum, each student has a faculty advisor, an Undergraduate Curriculum Chair, a departmental undergraduate assistant, and a peer advisor. In addition, advisors are always available in 109 Towne. Each advising resource is best qualified to handle certain types of questions. For instance, the undergraduate assisant, usually located in the department office, is familiar with the requirements for the major, and has a detailed understanding of how the system at Penn works. Peer advisors share their experience with Penn Engineering from a student perspective. The Undergraduate Chair oversees the curriculum and is an excellent source of information about choosing a major. Faculty advisors are the best source of information about electives within the major, research opportunities, and options for graduate study. The advisors in 109 Towne are the ones to take questions about dual degrees, transferring, deviations from degree requirements, study abroad, and other school-level issues.

Students are assigned a faculty advisor, with whom they are required to meet at least twice a year. No student is permitted to register for classes in any semester without first meeting with an advisor and obtaining from them Permission to Register. Students who take the time to prepare for these meetings generally find them beneficial and informative.

Before you meet with your advisor...

1. Find out whether your advisor sees students during set office hours or by appointment before the advance registration period begins. If you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of creating a rushed and harried appointment, or even of missing the pre-registration period entirely. This situation is frustrating for both the student and the advisor, but can easily be avoided through good planning.
2. Take the time to read over your degree requirements, course rosters, and course descriptions. This will enable you to formulate informed and intelligent questions. Remember, your advisor is only a resource; you are ultimately responsible for your academic career.
3. Make certain to bring all forms that your advisor may be required to sign, including your “Advisor Sign-off” form and a completed online worksheet available on Penn InTouch (Course Planning Guide). This will save you from having to make a second appointment.

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