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The Advising Deans in the College of Arts & Sciences are excited to assist you as you begin your studies!

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

Advising Dean
We assign each incoming student to an Academic Advising Dean who serves as a centralized advising resource. Unlike the pre-major advisor (see below) who changes when you declare a major, your Advising 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. 

Pre-Major Advisor
In addition to your academic advising dean, you will be assigned a pre-major 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 pre-major 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 Academic Advising 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! 

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.  

When you are ready, check out the College's resources for Career Advising and Preparation.

Last updated: June 6, 2024
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