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Whether you are meeting your academic advisor for the first time or for the last time, it can be an overwhelming experience. Here are some questions that you may want to ask your advisor:

What is an Academic Advisor?

An academic advisor is a person who provides academic advice or guidance to students. He or she develops a working relationship with students, usually referred to as their advisees, to assist them with clarifying their educational and career goals. Advisors ensure that their advisees follow and meet degree requirements for a specific program and that they are aware of and follow the college’s academic policies and procedures.

What exactly is your role as my Academic Advisor?

The advisor's role is to help the student evaluate and realize educational and career options, approve the student's academic program of study and provide accurate and consistent information.

When should I see my Advisor?

You can see your advisor anytime. However, students are required to attend a minimum of two academic advising sessions per semester. Expectations must be established during new student orientation, along with follow-up throughout the semester. During the registration period, advisors are very busy which could create extended waiting times. Meeting with your advisor during non-registration periods has advantages. Not only can you talk with your advisor about classes for the upcoming semester, but you can also talk with them about your career goals or other matters.

Do I need an appointment to see my Advisor?

Yes and no. During busy registration times, an appointment is required for the advisor to manage his/her caseload. Advisors do include Office Hours to meet with returning students who may walk-in during the registration period with questions that don’t require much time to answer. Contact your advisor for his/her Office Hours. All new students must make an appointment to see their assigned advisor. During non-registration periods, students can walk-in and ask to meet with their advisor; however, advisors are not always available for walk-ins. Students may be asked to return during Office Hours, wait until their advisor is available, or email their advisor for the best time to meet.

How do I make an appointment to see my advisor?

To make an appoint with your advisor, you may utilize the Student Success Center’s Appointment System to access some the Student Success center’s programs and services. From this site, you can make appointments for advising, tutoring and mentoring and sign up for workshops, seminars and other event. The link is

How involved is my advisor in helping me select/choose the right courses?

Advisors are very involved. Norfolk State advisors are committed to helping you complete the requirements for a college degree. They will offer suggestions on what courses to take, and their recommendations will be based on your other responsibilities. Ultimately, it’s the student’s responsibility to register for and complete the courses required for their degree.

How long is a typical advising session last?

The length of an advising session varies from 15-30 minutes. To ensure that you maximize your time during the advising session, plan for what you wish to accomplish during the session. If you want information about course requirements and offerings, bring a copy of your program evaluation to the session. You can get a copy of your program evaluation by going to MyNSU accessing the Student Servicing Link to access the Student Planning Tool. Also, write down questions that you would like to ask.

How do I locate my academic advisor?

You can find your assigned advisor by logging into MyNSU Student Servicing Link accessing the Student Planning Tool. Your advisor is listed on you student evaluation which can be found under the student progress link. If you have not been assigned an advisor, you may see find your academic advisor listed under your academic department’s faculty/staff link. Each undergraduate student at Norfolk State is assigned an academic advisor who can help you explore majors, register for classes, locate tutoring resources, shop study abroad options, find ways to gain real-world experience and monitor your progress towards graduation. 

How do I reach you if I have questions?

You may easily schedule an appoint with your academic advisor by logging on the WcOnline @ If you are unable to reach your advisor by navigating that site, you may obtain your advisor’s email address by contacting the Student Success Center at or call 823-8507 for assistance.

When can I register for classes?

The tool used for registration at NSU is currently The Student Planning Tool. Once a schedule is approved, students can log into MyNSU Servicing Link to access the Student Planning Tool and register for classes on or after the date their advisor tells them they are eligible for registration. As noted in an earlier question, Norfolk State students must get advisor approval for a proposed schedule. Again, the advisor’s role is to ensure that you are progressing towards completion of degree requirements. We realize that not all students master using the Planning Student Planning Tool initially. Therefore, seminars will be available to assist students with the navigation of the application.

What do you think about taking online classes?

The perks of taking online classes are numerous. They offer additional flexibility for busy students, especially for those balancing school with work and family. The physical presence inside a classroom with a teacher and fellow peers often leads to an atmosphere that can’t be replicated through virtual means. Physical model also ensures discipline as students cannot switch off webcams and doze off. Physical classrooms also allow for teachers to provide more personal attention to each student’s need. Some classes may only be offered online which will allow for interactive eLearning that can help improve student engagement.

What electives do you suggest I take?

Electives come in two forms. Unrestricted electives (free) and restricted electives. Unrestricted electives are chosen based on your interests and do not relate to degree requirements. Restricted electives are based on requirements for your major and are more specific to your degree program.

Do you teach courses?

What do you teach? Yes, in addition to academic advising, some advisors may teach First Year Experience and Student Transition courses. Students are able to develop academic skills; they are introduced to campus resources and services and are introduced to selfexploration/personal development. Advisor may also teach study skills, critical thinking, academic planning/advising, time management, etc. This is exactly what they teach in one-on-one group advising sessions.

Do you have guidance for me to stay focused?

Both your mental health and physical health are key factors in your success at college. Making them a priority can help you stay focused in college. It can also help you make decisions about which activities to skip and which ones to attend. Get help from individual counselors or peer mentoring. It is through campus programs such as these that you will be able to have a little fun too.

Can I change my major? How?

Yes. Changing your major is a normal part of the college experience. Students who find it necessary to change majors should confer with the assigned University departmental advisor concerning the proposed change. An entrance interview should be scheduled and conducted with the department head or program director of the major to which the student is changing. The Petition to Change Major Form, available in each academic department, or the advisor’s office must be completed and signed by the department head of the relinquishing department and presented during the entrance interview. You may access the form at No student may change a major without approval of the department from which and to which a transfer is made.

What is the difference between a full-time and a part-time student?

A full-time course load means that you are registered for at minimum of 12 credit hours. In most cases that equates to four classes. A part-time course load is any number of classes less than 12 credit hours.

What are pre-requisite courses?

A pre-requisite course is a course or requirement that must be met in order to register for another course. For example, ENG 101 must be completed before taking ENG 102. In other words, your permanent academic record (Transcript) must show that you have successfully completed ENG 101 before you can register for ENG 102.

What is co-requisite course?

A co‐requisite is something that a student can complete prior to, or at the same time as, the desired class. This means that if one course is a co‐requisite to another, students can enroll in both courses, simultaneously, within the same term – or could have already completed the course in a previous term, to meet the requisite. 

What kind of careers can I pursue with my degree major?

Speak to professionals who are currently working in your field of choice. Ask them about their daily activities, challenges, and other details to get an insider’s perspective on the career. Keep in mind that the discipline you study doesn’t determine what you will do after graduation. Your degree is just one of the many important assets you bring to your future career. However, looking at some potential paths that your program of study offers can be helpful for giving you ideas that you may not have considered otherwise.

How many classes should I take each semester?

Depending on each individual student, the number of credit hours taken can vary from semester to semester. Typically, it takes 120 credits to receive a bachelor’s degree. Obviously, depending on the institution, the major, and the type of degree you will be receiving can change the exact amount. However, 120 credits are the average. If you are taking 15 credits each semester, you can get to 120 credits in 8 semesters and likely graduate. While it might seem strange, for many students it’s better to take about 15 credits in their first semester. This is recommended because 12 credits are usually the minimum to be considered a full-time student at the University. It can even affect tuition in some cases. If for some reason you need to drop a class, 15 credits are sort of a safe zone for this, so your tuition does not change.

What campus resources do you suggest I utilize?

Although campus resources are many, students seek out-of-class support for academic work. Students realize that academic resources at Norfolk State are an essential complement to learning what they do in the classroom. Students should utilize academic support services which may include study groups, writing center tutors, peer tutoring, academic workshops, academic mentors (advisor, faculty, deans, administrators, and peers), as well as student wellness and mental health services.

I am struggling academically, what resources should I utilize?

Your academic advisor is one of the best resources. If you are struggling with a class, they will be able to help you decide whether it is worth it to stick it out or if you should drop altogether. Talk to your peer mentors. These students are incredible resources. They may have taken a lot of the same classes you will take and may know enough to navigate you. Don’t wait until the last minute to get help. Contact your professor, and do not be afraid to talk to your professor, if you are struggling. Manage your time wisely. Time-management is one of the most important rules of college. Go to class. You should always try to avoid missing a class you don’t feel motivated to go to because you are struggling. Be patient. College academics are a shock for most first year students who first arrive on campus.

Am I on track to graduate?

The first and most obvious person to help is your academic advisor. This person plans your schedule each semester and looks at the bigger picture of your education. Most advisors are well informed and can help you plot your path.

How do I apply for graduation?

Any student expecting to complete academic requirements at the end of a semester must complete and file an application for graduation through the academic department head’s office by the designated due date for the applicable semester. It is the responsibility of the department head to submit the necessary forms and documentation to the Registrar’s Office in compliance with established deadlines. However, prospective graduates may view the undergraduate application by accessing this link

How do I drop or add a class?

Changes in class schedules (Add/Drop) may be made only with the written consent of the course instructor and the advisor or department head. Students who have not declared a major may contact the Student Success Center (SSC) for advising and schedule changes. Non-matriculating students should contact the Dean's Office in the College of Liberal Arts to process schedule changes. A student must complete the Administrative Change form, obtain the appropriate signatures, and report to the offices of the Registrar and Cashier to complete the transactions. No changes in class schedules may be made after the dates stipulated in the academic calendar for making changes without incurring the penalty of failure, "F," for the course(s) involved. You may access the form at

How do I withdraw from classes?

To withdraw from classes, a student must submit an Application for Withdrawal form the University. To ensure students terminating their enrollment before the term ends are withdrawn from their courses, and other departments are appropriately notified, the University requires students to complete the withdrawal form. Official withdrawal requires clearance of a student’s responsibility to the university, such as financial aid, housing, board plan, and notification of withdrawal to various offices. Official withdrawal, therefore, is essential to ensure that one’s academic record is not jeopardized and that financial matters are attended to. Failure to properly withdraw may hamper readmission or the possibility of transfer to another college or university. 

I have a hold on my account, what do I do?

Generally, a hold on an account indicates that a university office needs you to resolve something (pay a bill, return a book), do something (orientation), or see someone (advisement) before the hold can be removed. To have a hold removed, contact the originator of the hold to see if the issue can be resolved.