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Undergraduate Academic Advising FAQ's

Academic Advising

What is undergraduate academic advising?

Undergraduate academic advising at RIT fosters a collaborative relationship and partnership between a student and academic advisor.  Academic advising is a supportive process that provides students with the opportunity for one to one interaction with an academic advisor. Through this process, academic advisors help students transition to college, integrate into the RIT community, navigate their curriculum, connect to campus resources, evaluate progress toward on-time degree completion, and explore career choices.     

Who is my academic advisor?

You are able to locate your academic advisor’s name on the “Advisors” tile in SIS.  Click on the “details” link to find out additional information about the advisors, such as their role and email address. Click here for a visual PDF of how to find your advisor in SIS.

Am I required to meet with my academic advisor?

Every undergraduate student at RIT is assigned an academic advisor and they are a great resource for students.  If you are new to the university (freshman and transfers) you are required to meet with your academic advisor during your first year. Second year students and mid-degree (third year) students are also required to meet with their academic advisor. All students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic advisor on a regular basis.  Meetings with your academic advisor are a great time to ask questions about your plan of study and co-curricular opportunities, such as study abroad and undergraduate research.    

How do I schedule an appointment with my academic advisor?

There are many ways to schedule an appointment with your academic advisor: phone, email, in-person, and the easiest way is through Starfish.  Starfish allows you to conveniently schedule an appointment with your academic advisor from your electronic devices.  Click here for instructions.      

How do I contact my academic advisor?

There are many ways to contact your academic advisor: phone, email, and in-person.  As you build rapport with your academic advisor, you will learn their preferred method of communication.  Generally, the best way to contact your academic advisor is through email.  You can email your academic advisor through SIS.  Click on “details” in the advisor box and then click on your advisor’s name to send an email.  Page 3 of this visual PDF shows you how to email your advisor through SIS.


How will my academic advisor contact me?

RIT email is the primary tool advisors use to contact students.  It is a good idea to check your RIT email at least once per day.  If you use other email accounts, you should forward your other email to your RIT email account.  Occasionally, advisors will contact you by phone or relay services.  


It is also important to update your other contact and emergency contact information in SIS.      

New Student Information

I am an incoming freshman, how do I get registered for classes?

In mid-July, academic departments register students for fall term classes. You will be able to access your preliminary schedule towards the end of July by logging into the Student Information System (SIS) with your RIT computer account and password.  Please be aware that as official Advanced Placement (AP) scores, official college transcripts, and RIT placement test scores are received, schedules will be adjusted accordingly.

Has RIT received my AP scores/transfer credit?

You can view your AP and transfer credits received by RIT in SIS.  Login to SIS and go to Student Center.  Select the “other academic…” dropdown menu on the left hand side of the screen, choose “Transfer Credit: Report” and click the  button.  If you are expecting more AP scores or transfer credits to be posted, you may want to let your advisor know.   


How do I know which textbooks are required for my classes?

You can find out what textbooks are required for your classes on SIS. 

  • Login to SIS and go to Student Center. 
  • Select the “other academics…” dropdown menu on the left hand side of the screen. 
  • Select “Class Schedule” and click the  button.  Select the desired term (fall, spring, summer) and press continue. 
  • Click on the yellow box that says, “Buy My Books from Barnes and Noble”, this will take you to information for course materials.     

Remember, as official Advanced Placement (AP) scores, official college transcripts, and RIT placement test scores are received, your schedule will be adjusted accordingly.  You may want to communicate with your academic advisor to determine if your schedule is finalized. 


How do I access my plan of study for my major?

You can access your plan of study on SIS.  Login to SIS and go to Student Center.  Select the “other academic…” dropdown menu, choose “Academic Requirements” and click the  button. This will open your Academic Advisement Report (AAR). 


What is the Academic Advisement Report (AAR)?

The AAR (also referred to as degree audit and plan of study) is an advisement tool designed to help you choose appropriate coursework and determine your progress toward graduation. Within the AAR, you (and your academic advisor) will see how your RIT coursework, transfer coursework, and test credits apply to graduation requirements for your declared major, immersion, minor, etc.  You should work closely with your academic advisor and review your AAR regularly to plan for future enrollment.



Course Registration

How many credits should I register for each semester?  

To be a fulltime student you must register for 12 credits per semester. Students are encouraged to register for a minimum of 15 credit hours per semester, but in some majors registering for up to 18 credit hours per semester is expected and the norm. Work closely with your academic advisor to ensure that you are registered for the optimal amount of credits each semester for on-time graduation.

I am a returning student, when should I register for courses?

Enrollment for the coming term typically begins mid semester. You will be assigned an Enrollment Appointment date and time, you can view your enrollment appointment by logging into SIS and going to Student Center.  “Enrollment Dates” appear on the right hand side of the screen, click on “details” to select the appropriate term and then select continue.  You will see your enrollment appointment, which is the first time you can register for the upcoming term.  You will be able to make adjustments to your schedule through the Add/Drop period of the following semester.        

What do I do if I have a “hold” on my account?

Login to SIS and click on the details link in the “Holds” section (located in the top right section of your Student Center page), on the following page select the “hold” you would like more information about.  Follow the instructions to address the hold.  Some “holds” impact your ability to register, or restrict the availability of transcripts or diplomas, so “holds” should be resolved as soon as possible.



General Education

Why do I need to take general education courses?

“The General Education curriculum is the foundation for preparing students for lifelong learning, for success in their chosen fields and for their role in society as well-educated and knowledgeable citizens.” (General Education website, retrieved October 28, 2016 from: Students in all BS degree programs are required to complete at least 60 semester credit hours of general education.  Students in BFA programs are required to complete 30 semester credit hours of general education.  Visit the General Education website for more information specific to your type of degree.   


What are Perspectives?

Perspectives are designated general education courses that introduce undergraduate students to the fundamentals of liberal arts and sciences courses.  Perspective courses are typically taken in the first and second year.  You should review your Academic Advisement Report (AAR) to see how your courses are being used towards your general education requirements.


What are Immersions?         

Immersions are a series of three related upper-level general education courses. The nine credit hour Immersion requirement supports deeper learning within a focus area.  (General Education website, retrieved October 28, 2016 from:  All undergraduate students must complete an Immersion.   


How do I declare my Immersion?

Log in to SIS and click on the “My Academics” link on the left side navigation bar. Once you are on that menu, select the link that says Declare/Change Immersion. Select your desired Immersion from the drop-down menu and click submit. You will receive a confirmation message that your Immersion has been added.



I’m having trouble in my class, what should I do?

If you are experiencing academic difficulty, your first point of contact should be your course instructor.  Go to your instructor’s office hours for assistance (don’t be afraid, instructors encourage students to come to their office hours) and bring your syllabus, text book, homework, and other materials you want to discuss.  If after speaking with your instructor you feel you still need assistance, talk with your academic advisor.  Your academic advisor can refer you to the many academic resources on campus.  Check out a list of student resources on the University Advising Office website.          

I received an academic alert, what should I do?

If you received an academic alert, you should contact your instructor to discuss the concern, talk about strategies to improve your performance,  and any resources that are available to support your success.  Your academic advisor is also notified about the alert and may offer support as well.

Will my parents receive information about my academics? 

We encourage students to communicate openly with their parents/families about their academic performance and academic progress.  Students and families should establish a communication plan to discuss grades, course schedules, and general concerns.  Our goal is to have you take the lead in sharing information with your parents/families. 


Your academic information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  This prohibits academic advisors and other RIT faculty and staff from discussing your education with your parents/families, without your consent.  If you would like your parents to speak directly with your academic advisor about your specific academic performance, you will need to sign a FERPA release form.  Please note, even with a signed FERPA release form, academic advisors will want to keep you in the conversation and engage you and your parents together.  When a FERPA release form is not in place, academic advisors can only speak in generalities and help parents understand university policies and procedures.    


The RIT Parent & Families page offers a wealth of information that parents and families will find beneficial.  


Can I give my parents access to view my final grades?

You can grant your parents access to the eServices website, this will allow your parents to view your final grades for the semester.  Click here for directions on granting access to eServices.       


What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Federal and New York State SAP guidelines require students to successfully complete their coursework and maintain minimum standards of academic progress to continue receiving financial aid. Please see the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships Satisfactory Academic Progress page for more information. 


I don’t think my major is a good fit for me.  How can I explore other majors?

RIT has more than 75 undergraduate programs to choose from.  If you are uncertain about or re-deciding your major, you should meet with your academic advisor and discuss your concerns and areas of interest.  Your academic advisor can connect you with campus resources to assist you in the exploration process.  Additionally, career counseling and University Exploration are a great place for you to process your ideas  about re-deciding your major.