The Academic Advising system of the University is organized to enhance the traditionally close relationship between students and faculty. Willamette is vitally interested in the intellectual, social, moral, religious, cultural, and emotional growth of each student and views advising and counseling as integral parts of the total educational process. All undergraduate students work directly with a faculty advisor.
The student and the academic advisor, in mutual consultation and agreement, devise an academic program that meets the student's interests and needs and the University's requirements. While the student is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all graduation requirements are met, the academic advisor stands ready to lend assistance, offer information, and check programs.
The student and the academic advisor, meeting together at least once every semester, plan both the immediate semester program and the total four-year program with the major aim of building a coherent liberal arts experience. The academic advising function is an important responsibility of every full-time faculty member of the College of Arts & Sciences and is one that faculty members take very seriously. The student-advisor relationship, tailored to meet the needs of each student, is thus a central part of the student's academic life.
Because most entering first year students do not yet know what their major will be, the student and the advisor will usually plan a program for the first two years that supports progress in the General Education Program and introduces the student to the broad liberal arts spectrum. This program will prepare students for concentration in a major and acquaint them with a wide variety of possible majors. All members of the undergraduate faculty, regardless of their individual areas of specialization, are prepared to take responsibility for the general advising of students who have not yet declared a major.
In declaring a major - required before a student reaches junior standing - students choose an advisor in the major field and together with that advisor plan the remaining semesters to meet major requirements and to complete complementary elective and general education study. This balance between a broad educational experience and a more specialized major provides Willamette graduates with a solid liberal arts background, which constitutes excellent preparation for both graduate or professional schools and the world of work.
Transfer students are assigned advisors according to their designated major field of interest prior to their initial semester at Willamette. It is important for transfer students to meet with this advisor as soon as they arrive on campus in order to plan intelligently for their time at Willamette and to ensure that they will meet all major program and College of Arts & Sciences graduation requirements.
Personal advising and career counseling are also available to the student through the Career Development Center.