Academic Advising Expectations

Advising is collaborative, with both advisers and students sharing the responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. Students have the responsibility to meet with their adviser, read their email, and check the IST website for changes in major requirements, new courses, and special topic courses.

Select the option below based on your status to schedule an appointment with an academic adviser in the College of IST.

Students currently enrolled in the College of IST at University Park can schedule an appointment with their assigned academic adviser by following the instructions below:

  • Log into Starfish and click on “Home”.
  • Find “My Success Network” in the navigation pane. This will show you all of your instructors and advisers. You can make an appointment with your adviser from their individual profiles.
  • Click the “Schedule Appointment” link. The calendar on the left-hand side will show dates with open appointment times. Days in bold are the ones available for scheduling.
  • Click the + icon next to the appointment time that fits your schedule.
  • Select a reason for the appointment.
  • Type a detailed description for the meeting to help the adviser best prepare for the meeting.

Once you create the appointment, Starfish will send you an email confirming the appointment and will also send you a reminder closer to the appointment time. Your “Dashboard” will show the new appointment that you have created.

If you need to cancel your appointment, click the “x” in the upper right of the appointment block on your Dashboard. Please cancel appointments well in advance.

Students currently enrolled in a college other than IST at University Park must come see an adviser during posted drop-in hours.

Students should make every attempt to work with their assigned adviser at their current campus. If there are questions that cannot be answered by your assigned adviser, please send an email to World Campus students should contact or 814-863-3283.

Advising Appointment Preparation and Etiquette

Students should meet with their assigned adviser at least once a semester for academic planning, though students planning to study abroad or pursue a concurrent major may need to meet with an adviser multiple times in one semester. The more prepared a student is for their scheduled appointment, the more productive the advising meeting will be.

Before meeting with your academic adviser, review the Academic Requirements or What-if Report in LionPATH, which can be accessed from Student Center. This allows students to ask questions about policy, course substitutions, transfer course work, and entrance to major requirements.

Email and Academic Advising

When emailing your academic adviser, you must use your Penn State email address. This is the only way your adviser can be sure it’s you. Be sure to include a subject line for your email, as an email without one may be treated as SPAM by an email server.

Appropriate questions for email include asking how you can set your intent to graduate and following-up on appointments and petitions. Inappropriate questions for email include asking what courses to schedule, what minor to declare, and if you’re on track to graduate.

Please email one adviser, rather than the entire advising office, to get your questions answered.

Advisers, like many other University staff members, keep normal business hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, which is when they will likely be reading and responding to emails. It is reasonable to expect a response within 1-2 business days. If you email your adviser Saturday night, do not expect an answer on Sunday. During peak times in the semester, such as the beginning of the semester and during scheduling periods, it is likely that response times will be slower.

Progress Reporting

During the third week of the semester, instructors are invited to complete an Early Indicators survey through Starfish to alert students to engagement patterns that should change or continue. Students can receive a kudos if they are meeting or exceeding expectations, or an unsatisfactory participation notice that alerts students that they are not meeting expectations (e.g., not completing work, inconsistent attendance).

During the seventh week of the semester, instructors are invited to complete a Mid-Semester Progress survey through Starfish. This is based on both patterns of student behavior and graded work. This survey includes a possible additional flag of “In Danger of Earning Below a C.” Advisers can monitor students’ academic warnings through Starfish and encourage students to make an appointment to discuss academic performance, consider the outcomes, review options, and provide appropriate referrals.


Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising

E103 Westgate Building
University Park, PA 16802

Make an Appointment
(814) 865-8947