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Academic advising: help on many levels

Check in with an advisor at least once per academic year to ensure you're on track
June 25, 2020
By Margaret Colton and Shoshana Kalfon


Unsure of what courses to take? Have questions about your program requirements? Interested in studying abroad? Want to make sure you are on track for graduation? Consult an academic advisor!

Invested in your success

Academic advisors are available all year – and all throughout your undergraduate studies at Concordia  – to help you succeed. Check in with them at least once per academic year to ensure you are on track to complete your undergraduate program and degree requirements! They can:

  • Provide information on your undergraduate degree requirements to help you make informed decisions
  • Work with you to create an academic plan that complements your interests and goals
  • Refer you to an appropriate campus service based on your individual needs

Three levels of advising

Depending on your Faculty, you will have access to academic advisors at three different levels who can answer your questions and assist you with academic planning:

Faculty Level: For your “big-picture” degree questions

Each Faculty has a Student Academic Services (SAS) office staffed by advisors who can advise on general degree requirements, program requirements, faculty-wide regulations and academic options for students facing issues of concern. They can also answer questions related to transfer credits, student requests, study abroad, and changes in concentration or degree transfers.

Department Level: For your program-specific questions

Within each academic department, you will find advisors who are specialized in the courses, requirements and opportunities specific to the programs offered within that department.  They can answer your questions about course selection and registration, as well as help you understand your program requirements and course sequence. In many departments, advisors are also professors.

Program Level: For your program-specific questions

In some cases, specific programs may have an advisor assigned to it within a department. They can provide advice on course selection and registration and help you understand your program requirements and course sequence. Often, program advisors are also professors.

NOTE for JMSB Students: In JMSB, academic advisors are centrally located in the JMSB Undergraduate Student Affairs Office, and provide comprehensive advising for all levels above!

NOTE for Independent Students: Depending on the program you would like to enter, the advisor you should contact may vary. See the Independent Students website.

How to find your advisor

Because academic advising is available at these different levels across Concordia’s four faculties, not all advisors will necessarily use the title “Academic Advisor”. In departments, your academic advisor may be the Undergraduate Program Director or Coordinator of Academic Programs, for instance. To find your main advisor’s contact information, go to your Student Centre. Your main advisor typically advises at the Department or Program Level.

If you need to connect with your advisor, start by sending them an email! Make sure to include your full name and Concordia ID number in all email correspondence

How to prepare for your appointment

  1. Confirm if you need to make an appointment to meet with your advisor, or whether they offer drop-in hours. Usually SAS and departmental websites will specify how you can get in touch. You may need to call or email beforehand to schedule an appointment.
  2. Be proactive! Connect with your academic advisors well in advance of deadlines. This will ensure you have enough time to get informed, make decisions and take action before the last minute.
  3. Consult your SAS and department’s websites as well as the Undergraduate Calendar. You will often find the answers to your initial questions there! Some departments even provide degree-planning or course-sequencing worksheets that you can fill out before speaking with your advisor!
  4. Write down your questions in advance.
  5. If you have questions about course selection or registration, make sure you note down the course number, section number and title of the classes you’re considering so that you have the details easily available during your meeting.

Emailed your advisor, but haven’t heard back? Don’t worry! Advisors receive many emails from students every day (especially during peak periods – like leading up to the DNE/DISC deadlines!), so it may take a week or two for them to respond. If two weeks have passed, and you haven’t heard back, resend your email.


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