As a first year student, you'll be responsible for attending manditory advisory meetings and optional drop-in hours, in which you can ask your advisor any questions you have about courses, registration, and more. All first-year students are assigned to one primary advisor with expert knowledge of your major (biology, zoology, biological science) and a secondary advisor that will help you with course selection your first year. Your secondary advisor will likely be your main contact during the first year. We know that meeting consistently with your advisor is a great way to help you stay on track academically, so you won't be able to sign up for spring semester courses until you have met with your secondary advisor to go over course selection.
Biology faculty are familiar with the coursework and requirements you need to complete in order to achieve your biology degree, and they will work with you to design coursework that best meets your goals. In addition, your advisor will help enhance your relationship with the university and help you meet the general graduation requirements for your degree path. Your advisor can help you select courses, walk you through the organization and policies of UVM, and help keep you on track towards fulfilling the requirements you need to graduate.
Who will be my advisor?
If your major is biology, zoology, or biological science in the College of Arts and Sciences, you will be assigned a biology faculty member as your advisor. If your major is Neuroscience or Environmental Science, your advisor will be either from Biology or from another participating department.
Biology and zoology minors or students considering a minor/major who would like advice are welcome to make an appointment with the Department Chair or the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or to reach out informally to professors they know in the department.
How do I prepare to meet with my advisor?
The main purpose of academic advising is to help you meet your educational requirements and career goals. Academic advising requires that both you and your advisor work together as a team; for every meeting, the you should come prepared with specific questions and ideas. It also doesn't hurt to submit a CATS Report before your meeting.
Organizing a course of study
Life science is a very broad discipline, and students will need guidance in choosing a program of study including advanced electives and independent research or internships. Faculty advisors help you with this important and exciting task. For biology majors (the BA), students take four advanced electives, so choosing the right courses is critical. Therefore, several tracks are recommended: environmental biology, forensics, molecular biology, neurobiology, and preprofessional (for human or animal medicine). Students who wish to remain very generalized in their academics choose the general biology track. For Integrated Biological Science (BS) majors, students select a larger set of electives from an approved list. The zoology major (BA and BS) and environmental Science (BS) are distinct in structure from the biology and biological science, and each have an approved list of courses for students to choose from with careful advising by faculty.
First-year advisor meeting times
Group advising meetings: Once a semester, typically the week before course registration time, you will be required to attend a group meeting to go over common questions and issues related to major requirements, course sequencing, general distribution requirements, and more. Attendance at this meeting is required to lift an advising hold from your account (applied to all first-year students) removed from your account; it also is the first step towards answering most advising questions. All students will be informed of the times and places of group advising sessions.
Drop-in advising hours: In the two weeks before course registration time, your secondary advisor will inform you of open drop-in hours; this is a great opportunity to get answers to specific, specialized questions before registration. Peer advising sessions will also be available.