Advising Introduction for Parents

College Advising & Availability

As college advisers, we provide general academic advising on a wide range of topics (transitioning to college, choosing a major, selecting classes, developing educational goals). We are a great first contact if students aren't sure who to ask, and we are always happy to make referrals as appropriate. We offer daily drop-in advising Monday through Friday and our schedule is posted on the website and in our advising office. Students may also email us or call the front desk (831-459-2273) with quick advising questions.

We rely on you to help us help your students! Though we cannot share information freely with you regarding your student's academic record (read “Student Privacy” below) we can certainly talk about general university policies. If you see something on the website or hear something from us that you think your student would benefit from, please pass it on to your student, or suggest a visit to our office (or if you're using reverse psychology, tell them not to!). If your student is new to the campus, you might enjoy looking at new student guides for frosh and transfer students.

Student Privacy

You have probably heard that university employees are limited in what they can share with you about your student’s activities at UCSC. Your student’s privacy is protected by the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). We are always available to speak generally with concerned parties about university and college requirements and policies, academic standing, and campus resources. We hope that you’ll share your questions and discoveries with your student, and encourage him or her to talk to us if they want to learn more.

Online Advising

The campus has a number of online advising resources. Students, parents, and other interested parties may find answers to their questions using the following sites:

Choosing a Major

Though some students enter UCSC with a strong idea of what they’d like to major in, many students are confused when confronted with so many possibilities. We encourage these students to talk to family and friends, advisers, mentors, and faculty about their prospects. Students may find direction by enrolling in electives and general education classes that appeal to their interests, by meeting with one of us, or by visiting the Career Center.

The Career Center

At the Career Center (centrally located at the Bay Tree Bookstore Plaza), students may seek on- and off-campus employment and internships, peruse a library of career and graduate school information, and speak one-on-one with Career Center counselors. Want to see what your student might do with an Art degree? The Career Center also hosts the Career Advice Network, an online database of UCSC alumni, faculty, staff, and parents who have provided information about their academic degrees and careers (and contact information so students can learn more). While you're there, you can add yourself to the database!

Social Opportunities and Academic Enrichment

Students often find their academic lives more fulfilling when they take advantage of the many extracurricular opportunities on campus. We encourage students to explore their options at Porter and beyond. And we encourage you to get involved, too!

How can you help your student succeed?

We know that family and friends are a huge influence in students’ lives. To that end, here’s a short, basic timeline of what students might be thinking about (and needing to talk about with you) during their years at UCSC.

First Year (Frosh):

Researching or confirming a major; meeting with college advisers and major advisers (if they’re narrowing down or deciding on a major); determining degree requirements; taking GEs; looking into academic support services; forming study groups with peers; thinking about education abroad; looking into extra-curricular activities (sports, clubs, jobs, internships). As a guided online program, students are required to complete the First Year Advising Tutorial.  This is a step-by-step interactive interface that culminates with an enrollment activity that functions as a guide for future class enrollments based upon the student’s intended major, focus of study, and general interests.

The First Ten Weeks:

How to support your student

Welcome Week & Week One — Give your students space & reassurance. Encourage attendance at social activities & ask about classes. Encourage advising if they can’t find the answers themselves...

Week Two — Ask about classes: Do they have a system for tracking assignments and due dates? Is tutoring available, and do they think it’s a good idea to try?

Week Three — Do they have a schedule and place for studying that works for them? Are they on target or do they need help? Reassure through worries and homesickness.

Weeks Four & Five — Midterms typically happen weeks four through seven. How are they doing? if they feel worried, have they visited tutoring or study sessions? Do they know where to find them? Are they getting enough sleep and finding a way to balance their schedule? Encourage rest and reward(!) after major exams and projects are done, no matter the outcome—but *not* long breaks. In a ten week system, it’s important to keep up. Encourage advising if they feel lost, have fallen significantly behind or are surprised with scores.

Weeks Six and Seven — Enrollment for Winter 2014 begins 11/14/13. Have they thought about classes for winter? Are they feeling inclined toward a major or a direction of study? Encourage them to complete the First Year Advising Tutorial & seek advising well before their enrollment appointment time.

Week Eight — Understand that they will likely have assignments and need to study for finals, even through the holidays. Encourage time and space to do this, if they are home (or visiting) and need or want to work...

Week Nine — Do they know their final exam schedule, and have a plan in place for the week to come (sleep, study time, preparatory workshops...)? Encourage attendance at all pre-exam tutoring sessions.

Week Ten & Final Exams — Give reassurance, support, encouragement: they will make it through!

Second Year (Sophomore):

Declaring a major by the end of the Sophomore year and creating a long-term course plan; applying to study abroad; meeting with a department adviser; getting to know faculty in prospective or declared major(s); thinking about possible career paths and/or graduate school plans; looking into extra-curricular activities (sports, clubs, jobs, internships).

Third Year (Junior):

Finalizing major plans; meeting with a college adviser to check on progress with graduation requirements; going to the Career Center to explore graduate schools and/or career plans; talking to faculty about post-graduate plans and (if applicable) letters of recommendation.

Fourth Year (Senior)

Pursuing internships and/or independent study with faculty; preparing graduate school applications and finalizing faculty recommendation letters (if applicable); seeing major and college advisers to check that all graduation requirements will be met; applying for graduation in graduating quarter and signing up for the commencement ceremony if participating.