Academic Advising – Upperclassmen: General Information

Working closely with your advisor is critical to your academic progress towards graduation.. The following information will assist you in planning your path to graduation. When meeting with your academic advisor, the student should work with an advisor in their major in developing a comprehensive plan towards graduation planning out each semester. This plan can be changed as appropriate and needed but it should begin to provide direction and help you to anticipate future coursework. This plan is part of your Advising Portfolio.



The Advising Portfolio should be maintained by the student. It should contain the following:

1.  Original Matriculation sheet upon entry to the University

2.  4-year, semester-by- semester educational plan

3.  An updated transcript

4.  Current copy of your semester schedule.

5.  Any copies of Class Probation Notices, Absence Notifications, and Involuntary Withdrawals.

6.  Their copies of “Change of Registration” forms [to add or drop courses].

7.  Any other materials that are pertinent to their academic planning and future graduation.



Students who have reached their sophomore year without selecting a major will need special guidance at this crucial stage in their academic program.  One safe course of action is for the student to complete all requirements in the general education curriculum appropriate at the freshman and/or upperclassmen level. It is also a time to selectively choose a few courses in which the student may think they are interested or would like to explore further.

If a student is undecided at the sophomore level and has not worked with the Career Development Center, this would be an appropriate time to take that step. It may also be useful for the advisor to take some extra time to discuss the student’s interests to determine how they might be matched with available programs of study.  The advisor may also wish to assist the student by making an appointment for the student with one or more faculty in various departments for a more in-depth discussion of particular majors – the student should likewise take the same responsibility for contacting faculty in potential majors.

When a major is selected, the student should go to the Office of Academic Services, 401 Smith Library, and complete a Change of Major form, and see Ms. Karen Naylon or Ms. Sarah Bryce, to be assigned an appropriate advisor. After which the following information for “Declared Majors” becomes important.



Academic advising becomes the province of the faculty of the department offering the declared major.  The focus of the advising becomes two-fold: continuation of the general education curriculum together with the proper selection and sequencing of courses in the major.

It is important that students have their correct major listed with the University and an appropriate faculty advisor within their desired major. Faculty in a major are most aware of the sequencing and teaching of courses in their department and can then share such information in the planning of the semester schedule. To change your major and/or advisor a student needs to go to the Office of Academic Services, 401 Smith Library, and see Ms. Karen Naylon.

Three areas of advising are important to declared majors.  First, faculty advisors can be of considerable assistance to students in helping them link their program of study with opportunities and uses beyond graduation.  Second, faculty can also provide guidance and assistance in the consideration of graduate study and the actions needed to pursue that option. (Also see “Graduate School Planning” section located elsewhere on this website.)  Third, planning for internships and study abroad can be initiated to help ensure the ability of the student to pursue those options. Therefore, it is important that a student have an advisor in their major.



Each semester offers several opportunities for students to see their advisors to support their academic progress and their ultimate progress towards graduation. The list below presents the prime opportunities available but certainly not limited to these times.

  1.  ALL/SPRING: Students should meet with their academic advisor to make any changes necessary to their current semester schedule [add classes, repeat classes, etc.].
  2. FALL/SPRING EARLY ALERT: If doing poorly or missing class, an instructor may submit your name as part lof the Early Alert program and your advisor will call you in for a improvement-planning conference.
  3. CLASS PROBATION NOTIFICATION: If you are placed on Class Probation because of absences from a class [NOTE: there are NO excused absences in college], set an appointment to discuss it with your advisor.
  4. FALL/SPRING MID-TERM GRADES: Advisors are sent mid-term grades each semester. If you receive mid-term grade deficiencies [C-, D+, D, D-, F], contact your advisor and develop an improvement plan [attendance, tutors, etc.] or possibly discuss dropping a course. Last day to drop a course is always the Friday after break [fall and spring].
  5. REGISTRATION ADVISING: This is the most common time to meet with your advisor to plan and develop schedules for the coming semester. It is important that you get registered during these registration days.
  6.  FINAL GRADES: Students who receive D’s and F’s should contact advisors about repeating courses either in spring semester/summer school/fall semester, as appropriate. When you repeat a course, the higher of the two grades is used in calculating your GPA.


The advisee is an equal partner in the advising process. As an advisee you are ultimately responsible for your educational choices and decisions. You are expected to:

  • Clarify personal values, abilities, interests, and goals for academics and life.
  • Contact and schedule regular appointments with your advisor each semester as required or when in need of assistance
  • Prepare for advising sessions and bring appropriate resources or materials. You are to maintain your own Advising Portfolio including your educational plan and other details.
  • Come prepared to your registration advising session with a planned schedule for the forthcoming semester.
  • Become knowledgeable and adhere to institutional policies, procedures, and requirements.
  • Access and use MyStuff for academic updates, information updating, registration, and other purposes.
  • Read your HPU email and other important communications from the University and your advisor.
  • Request re-assignment of a different advisor when changing majors, adding a second major, or adding a minor by completing a Change of Academic Program form at the Office of Academic Services – Academic Advising, 401 Smith Library.
  •  Accept final responsibility for all decisions made and your graduation requirements.



Every student during their second semester Junior year or no later than their first semester Senior year should go the Registrar’s Office and have a “Degree Audit” completed. This is an official statement of what courses/requirements you have completed towards your degree and what courses/credits remain to be taken. This will clarify the student’s progress and help avoid any “surprises” later. This is a document that is signed by your advisor and department chair. The student does meet with someone from the Registrar’s Office who reviews your Degree Audit with you.

Students can also complete an unofficial degree audit on-line at their MyStuff account under the section of “Program Evaluation.” This is another tool that students should use in monitoring their progress towards graduation.



Seniors are reminded that they need to Apply for Graduation and complete the appropriate application in the Registrar’s Office. Likewise, they need to order their cap and gown through the bookstore.



All students are responsible for their academic program and progress towards graduation. [See Advisee Responsibilities above.] Two additional tools are available for all students to use to monitor their progress towards graduation.

  •  You can use the “Major’s Degree Form” for your major to check-off completed courses and to identify additional courses needed. [located on this website]
  •  You can also use the “Program Evaluation” program that is available on your MyStuff account. It will provide you with the same information as your initial Degree Audit, except updated with current courses. However, it is only accurate if your major is correct. You can do a “what if” on this program to tell you what courses you would need in the event you were changing your major.



Several specific programs that might be of interest to upperclassmen include the following four options:


INDEPENDENT STUDY: Students in their sophomore through senior year may register for a maximum of four (4) Independent Studies with only one (1) Independent Study being undertaken in any registration period. Independent Study is defined as the combined study, research, learning , and reporting that is completed independently by a student on an agreed upon topic with a professor who serves as the supervisor and resource person. The student is responsible for developing and organizing the entire course which is neither the same or similar to an existing course offered in the University.


DIRECTED STUDY: A directed study course is the study of a prescribed course content of an existing course in which the student, usually due to a schedule conflict, is unable to attend the scheduled class session. A maximum of 4 courses may be taken as directed studies and no more than one in a semester.


CREDIT BY EXAMINATION: Also known as a “Course Challenge”. Under certain conditions, the University allows academic credit to be awarded by examination.  The intent of this policy is to serve the needs of the student who has already mastered the subject matter of a course, usually through work experience or study at a post-secondary level. Not all courses are available for challenge and other restrictions apply. See the Undergraduate Bulletin.


CAREER AND INTERNSHIP SERVICES: Student may earn between 3 and 12 credits by completing an approved internship at an appropriate intern site related to one’s major. Additional specific details are available in The Office of Career and Internship Services, located in Cottrell.



The “Academic Advising Orientation” booklet was distributed to all students upon entry to the University. It contains the same information as provided on this academic advising website. Contact the Office of Academic Services/Academic Advising, 4th floor of Smith Library for a copy of the current packet or click on the following link. This booklet should also be a part of your Advising Portfolio.