Advising FAQs

What is a degree plan?
A degree plan is the prescribed set of courses that lists specifically the University and program requirements for your major and degree.
Why do I need a degree plan?
Having a degree plan in place will facilitate us in assisting you to attain your educational goal. It lists all of the courses and other requirements you will need to fulfill prior to graduation. Think of it as a navigational tool for success.
Why and when should I file a degree plan?
It is important that you file a degree plan so that you are aware of the degree requirements pertaining to your catalog. Some majors require that you file a degree plan your first semester of attendance; others require you to file it upon completion of 35 credit hours. If unsure, you should ask your academic advisor.
Where can I get an updated copy of my degree plan?
If you have a degree plan on file, you can access it from
What is academic advising?

The purpose of academic advising is to help you formulate and reach your own educational goals, while also making sure that you understand the objectives and requirements of your chosen major field. Academic Advisors can assist students with:

  • Advising on curriculum requirements
  • Selecting courses/scheduling classes
  • Interpretation of University policies and procedures
  • Choosing or changing a major
  • Review and interpretation of transfer evaluations
  • Graduation application and clearance
  • Advising on academic probation and suspension
  • Core Curriculum Requirements
  • Help with processing student-related forms such as curriculum substitution, course conflict, change of major, etc.
  • Review of student's academic record
  • Evaluation of progress toward established goals
  • Tutoring information
  • Referrals to campus resources such as Academic Testing Center
    • Office of Admissions
    • Islander Transition Center
    • Transfer Counselors
    • Career Services
    • Financial Aid
    • Health Center
    • Counseling Center
    • Students with Disabilities Office
How do I schedule an advising appointment with my Academic Advisor?
Appointments can be made in Center for Instruction 350D or by calling 361-825-3928.
Academic Advising Center Hours:
Monday through Friday: 8am - 5pm
Who is my Academic Advisor?
Advisors are assigned by discipline or by major. To find out who is your Science & Engineering Academic Advisor visit the Contact page and find the advisor for your field of study.
Is there more than one Academic Advisor?
Yes. See the Contact Advisors page.
All Academic Advisors for the college are located in the Center for Instruction, room 350. Appointments can be made by calling 361-825-3928.
What is the difference between an Academic Advisor and a Faculty Mentor?
In order to provide students with the accurate and timely information in regards to their academic careers, both the Academic Advisor and Faculty Mentors offer assistance in slightly different areas. A student's Faculty Mentor can offer great advice about what the classes are like, what is covered in a course and what former students have shared about their experience in the class. Faculty mentors are also resources for career planning information and possible internships.
Academic advisors compliment the mentor's knowledge by advising students on what classes are available, clearing them for graduation, assisting with scheduling or registration issues, and providing academic policy and procedural information as needed. Additionally, advisors are available to help track students' degree progress and offer referrals to helpful student services on campus.
Why should I meet with my Faculty Mentor?
The top 5 reasons to meet with your Faculty Mentor/advisor include:
  1. Ensuring that you are following the prescribed course of study leading toward graduation.
  2. Faculty are course content experts. They can offer advice about what the classes are like and what each course covers. They can help you choose which required course to take next when you are off schedule or cannot follow a suggested four year plan because of class or work conflicts.
  3. Faculty will be able to answer your questions about careers related to their field of study. They may be able to assist you in obtaining internships or other beneficial experience in the field such as undergraduate research. If they are not involved with undergraduate research themselves, they may be able to assist you in finding other faculty with whom you could do research.
  4. When you make the effort to go see your Faculty Mentor in his or her office, it will help the faculty member to know you as a person. You will be seen as a serious student who wants to succeed. The better your Faculty Mentor knows you, the more motivated he or she will become to help you achieve your goals.
  5. You will need letters of recommendation, regardless of whether you are applying for a Summer research program, for admission to graduate school, medical school, dental school, or other professional school, internship or simply job hunting upon graduation. Your Faculty Mentor can write a much better letter recommending you when they know you, your background, and your activities outside of the classroom.

When you meet with your Faculty Mentor please be sure to bring a copy of your degree plan with you.

Why should I develop a semester-by-semester plan?
Some of the reasons you should develop a semester-by-semester plan are so you can have a general idea of when you will be eligible to graduate, know in which semester you need to take each course, and find out the prerequisites for each course.
When should I apply for graduation?
You should apply for graduation before the published last day to apply for graduation. This date can be found on the University calendar:
What if I miss the graduation application deadline?
Schedule an appointment with your Academic Advisor immediately! Call 361-825-3928 for an appointment.
What is a prerequisite?
Please see our advising Terminology page or e-mail your Academic Advisor.
Who can help me with registration and/or scheduling classes?
Registration is an incredibly busy time for advisors. It is strongly recommended that you make an appointment to speak with your Academic Advisor and/or Faculty Mentor prior to the start of the regular registration period. You may make an appointment even before schedules are published to determine what classes you should be looking for when the schedules are released. Advisors are available to help you establish your degree plan, review your class schedules and assist with registration issues or problems.
I cannot make scheduling changes on SAIL, why?
Registering for courses, to include dropping and adding courses, before a semester starts can be done via SAIL online (with the exception of first-time freshmen and students with certain holds).  However, once a semester has started, all students must go to the Registrar’s office in the Student Services Center to make scheduling changes until registration for the semester officially closes.
How do I register for a Lab Safety Seminar?
Lab Safety Seminars must be registered with any science course that has a lab.  There are different CRNs for a course Lecture, Lab, and Lab Safety Seminar.  The Lab Safety Seminar can be found via the online Banner Schedule,  Select the term you are registering for and in the course subject drop down menu, scroll down and select ‘SMTE – Science/Math and Tech Education.’
How often should I see my Academic Advisor?
It is recommended that you see your Academic Advisor each semester to make sure everything is going as planned.
What is the best method to communicate with my Academic Advisor or Faculty Mentor?
It is recommended that students either schedule an appointment or e-mail their Academic Advisor or Faculty Mentor if they have questions or concerns.
I can’t register. Why is there a registration hold on my record?
Certain students are required to be advised prior to registration each semester. If you fall into one of the categories listed below, you will have a registration hold on your record and need to be advised prior to being able to register.
  • First Year Students: Students who have less than two academic semesters of college credit.
  • No Degree Plan on file: Students who have earned more than 35 credit hours and have not met with an Academic Advisor to have a degree plan prepared.
  • Low GPA: You are considered to have a low GPA if you meet any of the criteria below:
    • Your cumulative GPA is less than 2.00
    • Your GPA for the most recent semester is less than 2.00
    • Your major GPA is less than 2.25
It is advisable to check registration status prior to the beginning of the registration period and resolve any outstanding issues early.
Who should I see to add a minor, major or change majors?
It is recommended the students meet with their current Academic Advisor prior to changing their major. Their advisor can then refer them to the advisor who handles their new major or minor.
If I previously earned a failing grade and have repeated the class, it is automatically dropped, right?
Please refer to the university policy on course repeats, located in the university catalog.
I’ve been told that I can drop a class at any time during the semester. Is this correct?
Each term there is a set date, which is the last day that a student can drop a course. Students should always be aware of the drop deadline for each term. To find the drop date:
How can I update my contact information?
You may go to the Office of Admissions & Records or update your contact information via the SAIL system at Your permanent address can only be change in-person.
I’m not sure I understand what _____ means?
Please see our Advising Terminology page or e-mail your Academic Advisor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when it relates to your academic success.
How do I calculate my GPA?
The GPA calculator is currently available from the CASA homepage at
Is there a limit to the number of courses I can drop?
Any student who began college for the first time as a freshman in Fall 2007 or thereafter may not drop more than 6 (six) courses during their entire undergraduate career. For exceptions to this rule, please contact your academic advisor.
How do I obtain an internship?
Internship information can be found at the Career Services website.