Connecting College, Advising, and Career

Welcome to UVA! The Association Deans in the College of A&S Undergraduate Advising Office are excited to assist as you begin your studies in the College of Arts and Sciences!

You have important choices to make, and many resources that can help guide you. On this page, we will start with an overview of academic advising, and then cover advising oriented to your life and career after graduation.  

Academic Advising

Association Dean
We assign each incoming student to an Association (academic) Dean who serves as a centralized advising resource. Unlike the faculty advisor (see below) who changes when you declare a major, your Association Dean stays constant across your undergraduate career. The deans work in Monroe Hall, home of the College’s undergraduate advising offices, where they provide weekday drop-in advising (the undergraduate advising office staff can also set you up with an appointment to meet with your dean). Please visit the informative College website to find contact information for your dean and to find answers to many of your academic questions. 

Faculty Advisor
In addition to your academic dean, you will be assigned a faculty advisor who will be a primary point of contact for course selection and advising for approximately your first two years at UVA (or until you choose a major). We assign advisors based roughly on areas of potential interest you identify before the start of your first year. Alternately, in your first semester, consider signing up for one of the many College Advising (COLA) Seminars offered in the fall. Pick one in an area of interest or just pick one that looks fascinating: the COLA instructor becomes your advisor, and you will come to know them quite well. In either case, each semester, you’ll meet with this advisor to discuss your path at UVA and to have your advising hold removed so that you can enroll in the next semester's classes.  

Major Advisor/Director of Undergraduate Program (DUP) 

When you declare a major, that department will assign you a major advisor who will replace your previous faculty advisor and will be your main point of academic advising until you graduate. Prior to declaring a major, you can also seek advice from each major’s Director of Undergraduate Program (DUP), a departmental faculty member who assists students in the process of declaring a major. If you are considering a specific major, we encourage contacting the DUP early so you can successfully prepare to declare and complete the program.  

Thus, on your first day at UVA, you already have a team of academic advisors: a faculty advisor, the Directors of Undergraduate Programs for the different majors, and, most importantly, your Association Dean. The Deans work actively with you to assist you in charting an academic itinerary that is responsive to your ambitions and respectful of your right to make the choices that matter. 

Advising is an interactive process, one that begins at orientation and continues through the declaration of a major and beyond to completion of the degree. Use these powerful resources! You may also find this year-by-year student guide a perfect place to start your journey.  

Advising for Your Life After UVA 

It might seem odd to think about life after college just as you start, but advising at UVA goes beyond charting your academic course for four years of study: there are also a wealth of resources to help you develop and refine ideas about what you want to achieve and where you see yourself headed after graduation. And we want you to know now that your major is NOT your career.

Importantly, you do not need to have a clear vision of your post-graduate life when you arrive here. In fact, if you are completely undecided, you are in wonderful company: college should be a time to explore and to grow. More than at any other time in your life, you will be meeting new people, hearing new ideas, studying novel and exciting material, and doing new things, all the time wondering: To what purpose? Where might all this be heading? How can I make the most of this experience? Regardless of your major, your UVA education will prepare you for success after graduation, honing your critical thinking skills, refining your problem-solving abilities, improving your collaborative skills, training you in effective communication, and strengthening your ability to meet new challenges. The bottom line: major in what you love (or at least in what you really enjoy!).

We encourage you, regardless of your existing interests, to take a diverse set of courses in your first year—courses that sound interesting and that represent multiple disciplines. Review your particular general education pathway, get settled in, and begin to feel comfortable with exploration, evaluation, and recalibration. There will be plenty of time after settling on your academic path to develop a well-rounded life plan that includes extra- and co-curricular activities and training.  

Career Advising and Preparation

The College of Arts and Sciences offers important resources to help you chart a path towards a career goal, prepare holistically for that goal, and successfully take the first steps down the path towards a career.

UVA Catalyst is a program in the College, open to all majors, that prepares students for successful work and civic engagement after graduation. Catalyst combines career-relevant skills courses with core courses that synthesize the critically important intellectual abilities and habits of mind you develop over four years at UVA, teaching you to articulate and apply them in the world of work. The program also features a variety of opportunities for mentorship and networking, as well as close relationships with faculty and peers in small classes.

 UVA’s Career Center exists to prepare students for professional careers after graduation. Below are some of the wide range of opportunities they offer.

Finally, as you begin your time here at UVA, remember that academic engagement, however important, is only part of the experience. Studies support our confidence that any major in the College—the culmination of your exploratory journey across the depth and breadth of the liberal arts and sciences — is the best preparation for your future success in work and civic leadership after graduation, but the richness of your experience here will go beyond that. UVA is a place where you will develop as a thinker and an engaged global citizen; and as a friend, mentor, and community member. Give yourself the time to attend to all of these important roles as you pursue what we call "the great and the good."