Advising at Peabody - FAQs for Students
These are a series of FAQs that students may have regarding academic advising.
Q: How do I find out who my advisor is?
A: If you've already been assigned one, and you don't know who it is, you can find that by logging into YES (yes.vanderbilt.edu), and, there on your student landing page, you can see your advisor(s) names to the right of your photo. If you go to your student landing page and there isn't an advisor listed, then you haven't been assigned one yet. Please reach out to your major/minor/program department if you believe this is a mistake.
Q: How do I contact my advisor/set up a meeting with them?
A: Each advisor will have their own preference for how you set up a meeting with them, so your first step should be to send them a brief introductory email. You can find a faculty member's contact information by looking them up in Vanderbilt's People Finder directory (you may need to log in to find some people who have kept their contact info private). Or, you can google their name and the word Vanderbilt (ex: Jane Smith vanderbilt). Most faculty have their contact information posted online.
Q: How often should I meet with my advisor(s)?
A: Undergraduates are required to meet with their first major advisor at least once prior to their assigned registration period. There will be an 'Advisor Hold' placed on your account until you and your advisor have gotten a chance to connect and discuss your plan for the coming semester. (HOD students, your hold is lifted after you submit your Learning Plan to the HOD Advising Team at firstname.lastname@example.org). Other than that, undergraduates, graduates, and professional students are welcome to meet with their advisor whenever their schedules allow!
Q: How did I get assigned to the advisor that I did?
A: Some advisors are assigned randomly, and some advisors are assigned based on your declared track or area of interest. It depends on the department.
Q: I would like a different advisor. What do I do?
A: While many students have been assigned to an advisor who specializes in that student's particular track/concentration/area of interest, sometimes the advisor and advisee relationship is not a harmonious one. If you'd like to be assigned to a different advisor, you may want to start by reaching out to the departmental administrator for that department. This is usually a program coordinator or educational coordinator from whom you've likely received emails. They were also probably the person who assigned you to the advisor initially. You could also reach out to the director of undergraduate studies for that department, or, for professional students, the program director. If you're unsure of who these people are, you can also contact the Peabody Office of Academic Services, and we will get you pointed in the right direction (email@example.com).
Q: What do I talk to my advisor about?
A: You talk with your advisor about your academic goals, course load and course selection, majors/minors/tracks, your career goals or plans for future educational work (like graduate study or post-doc work), independent studies, transfer credit, etc. Anything related to your academic interests, future goals, or your overall experience at Vanderbilt is fair game.
Q: Who can help me if I can't reach my advisor or if my advisor doesn't have the answers to my questions?
A: Undergraduates: You may want to start with the director of undergraduate studies for your major or the educational administrator of your department/major. Professionals: You may want to reach out to your program director or the educational administrator of your department. See the Departmental Contact page here.
The Peabody Office of Academic Services is also available to answer questions regarding academic policy. We do not replace your assigned faculty advisor, but we can help get you going in the right direction or supplement the information your advisor provides.
Q: I'm thinking about declaring a certain major/minor, but I'd like to talk to someone in the department first. Who should I contact?
A: First, keep in mind that many departments will require that you declare the major/minor first before you can be properly advised. This helps to ensure that the new advisor has full access to your student record and so that you have a dedicated person to contact with your questions. Second, you'll also want to make sure that you do your due diligence first by researching the program online and in the Catalog. Many majors/minors/programs have their requirements laid out already on the web, so you'll want to read up and be prepared before you have a conversation with someone from the department. A good place to start if you're looking to just get a conversation going would be with the general departmental contact person — usually an educational coordinator, or it may even be just a general office email address.
Q: I'm interested in going to medical school/law school/nursing school/etc. Who can I speak to about these pre-professional tracks?
A: You will want to contact the relevant pre-professional advising office. See a list of pre-professional advising resources here.
Q: My advisor didn't tell me that I needed to take [X course]/fulfill [X requirement]! What do I do?
A: Your advisor's role is to help guide you and answer your questions along your educational path; they are not responsible completing, or not completing, your degree on time. That means it is always up to the student to ensure that they understand the degree requirements expected of them. There are a number of tools to help you with that, such as the Degree Audit, the Catalog, the Undergraduate Handbook. Just because your advisor didn't explicitly tell you something, doesn't mean that it isn't required. You will be expected to know and complete all degree requirements, or you may risk facing certain academic or financial consequences. To avoid surprises such as this: speak with your advisor often, read the emails that come to you from your advisor and the Peabody Office of Academic Services, check your Degree Audit in YES regularly, and familiarize yourself with your academic catalog.
Didn't see an answer to your question here? Please reach out to your advisor or the Peabody Office of Academic Services (firstname.lastname@example.org).