Changing Advisors

Can I change my advisor? How do I choose a new academic advisor?

When you arrive at SLU, one of your FYP professors is your initial academic advisor (if you are a transfer student, your initial advisor is the Associate Dean for Academic Advising Programs). Normally, that person remains your advisor until you declare a major, but that does not have to be the case.

If your original advisor goes on leave or sabbatical, or leaves the university, you will need to find a new academic advisor. But other times, it will still make sense to change advisors between the end of your first semester and your major declaration. If you do not have a personal connection and relationship of trust with your advisor, for whatever reason–if you do not seek out your advisor for advice, if you do not confide in your advisor about your hopes, dreams, fears, and challenges–she or he cannot be a completely effective advisor for you.While you should be able to master the mechanical aspects of fulfilling general education requirements, adding and dropping classes, and so on, and you may get good advice from peers, coaches, and other friends and mentors on and off campus, there is no substitute for an academic advisor, who knows the St. Lawrence curriculum, knows whom to contact to find information or solve problems, and who can help you place your particular questions and ideas within the larger contexts of both your academic trajectory at SLU and your long-term goals.

To find a new academic advisor, consider the professors whom you have come to like and respect, whose classes you have been excited by or whom you have come to see as helpful and interested in you. It is not important that your academic advisor before you declare a major be in the department you expect to major in (though it is convenient if that happens), but that the person is someone you trust and respect and will be forthcoming with about your interests and your problems. Visit your prospective advisor during office hours and ask if he or she is free to take you on as an advisee. If the answer is yes, changing advisors is as easy as filling out an advisor change form (it is the same form as the one you will use you declare a major, but fill out Section B instead of Section A). You need only the signature of your new advisor, not your former advisor – but it is a courtesy to let your former advisor know you have changed advisors and thank her or him, whether in person or by e-mail. The advisor change form must be submitted to the Academic Advising office (Whitman Annex 3).

If you have already declared your major, you may change your major advisor, but the new advisor must still be in your major department.

When you declare your major, you may elect to keep on your previous advisor as a second advisor using the same form.