What is academic advising?
Academic advising supports your learning and development by providing you with guidance on such areas as degree requirements, specializations, processing accommodations, and helping students plan their undergraduate education. We are a place to share your questions and concerns, and the opportunity to receive referrals that fit with your individual needs. Academic advisors are required to support not just the student in front of them, but all students by upholding the policies and processes of SAF, Faculty of Arts and University of Waterloo.
While academic advisors are a great place to start, we are often not a one-stop shop. We work as part of a team to support your needs. If appropriate, you will be referred to an advisor or specialist from other areas on campus to get the best support.
Who are academic advisors?
We are knowledgeable staff members who are here to help you. Our aim is to be approachable and available. We offer academic guidance and personal support, while we empower you to take responsibility for your undergraduate education. We provide a safe and welcoming environment where you can feel comfortable sharing your story, knowing that you are our priority.
Why interact with an academic advisor?
We are a great resource if you:
- Have questions about which courses to take for your sequence or what is required for your degree completion.
- Want to discuss your options and understand what choices are available for your academic decisions.
- Are struggling academically.
- Need information about available campus resources.
- Have questions about University policies, procedures, and possible exceptions.
- Need an ally who will understand your case, while balancing this with the policies of the University.
- Don’t know who to reach out to for support.
It is important to note that:
- Each program manages the details for enrollment and completion of specific majors, minors, and certificates that they offer. We will provide general guidance or refer you to the appropriate person for more information.
- We respect your privacy. Unless you give your permission, we do not share your information with others. This includes students, friends or parents. Please note that in situations related to academic support and mental health reasons, we may consult with other advising members or University supports for assistance.
- The University has a specific unit to support immigration. We are unable to advise on immigration issues.
- Although we are not counsellors, we can help connect you with counselling support.
How can I start a conversation with an advisor?
When preparing to ask your question, please review our frequently asked questions in case your question is answered there. In order to receive quick and precise help for your needs, consider the following steps below,
- Have you reviewed available resources, such as the degree requirements webpage, the Important Dates webpage, and the mySAFcommunity in LEARN?
- Every time you send an email include your student ID. One helpful tip is to add your student ID number to your email signature.
- Be clear in identifying your concern, issue, or technical problem. Give as much detail as possible. Additional material, like screenshots of registration errors, help to show the issue.
- Outline your preferred solution to the problem. How would you like us to help?
- Please be patient as we take time to research your case and reply to your email. Wait at least 48 hours before emailing to follow up with us if we have not responded. Our advising inbox has peak times where the volume is high and we are often juggling many complex cases.
Common Questions for Advising
How can I get into an arts course that is full or requires departmental consent? For courses outside of Arts, please contact the program Undergraduate Coordinator.
For questions related to co-op that are not available on our website, please reach out to your co-op advisor for more information.