Penn State students are advised by professional and/or faculty advisers. Academic advising is delivered through New Student Orientation (NSO), college- and campus-based academic advising and information centers, academic departments, and the Division of Undergraduate Studies. The University Advising Council provides oversight for Penn State's academic advising program.
The Division of Undergraduate Studies is an administrative unit within Undergraduate Education. Reporting directly to the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education, the division has five principal University-wide responsibilities:
Many first- and second-year students who are not yet enrolled in a major are advised by professional advisers housed in an advising center in the student's college or at the student's campus of enrollment. (Some new students, however, are advised by departmental faculty members.) Students could be assigned to a specific academic adviser in the center or they may work with a group of advisers. Advising centers may be staffed by Division of Undergraduate Studies programs coordinators, other professional advisers, and faculty advisers.
- Educational Planning Session and Academic Consultation components of New Student Orientation
- enrollment for students who want to explore the University's academic opportunities before deciding on a field of study and for students in transition from one college or major to another
- academic information, including a network of programs coordinators
- academic advising and educational planning for anyone who requests assistance
- support of advising programs at Penn State and nationally
When students enter a major or change from one major to another, they are usually assigned to a faculty member in their respective department. In many cases, students will work with that faculty member until they graduate. Students who are assigned to a faculty member before entering a specific major may continue to work with the same adviser through graduation. Some academic departments also have professional advisers on staff to supplement the advising provided by faculty members.
Students enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College are assigned to an honors adviser in their own college of enrollment. Honors advisers, appointed by the respective major programs, share a commitment to bringing together the resources of the Schreyer Honors College and the entire University to provide Schreyer Scholars with an honors education.
The University Advising Council, convened by the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education, provides oversight of the University's academic advising program and has authority to assist all academic units in improving the delivery of their advising systems in accordance with the criteria for effective advising set out in the advising policy. The council is to guide University Faculty Senate policies and assess the quality of the University's advising program.