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Academic Advising and Student Services

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In This Section:

Engineering Advising Office

From the time students enter the college until they become affiliated with a Major, they are under the administration of Engineering Advising, which implements the academic policies of the College Curriculum Governing Board (CCGB). Engineering Advising provides a variety of advising services to help first- and second-year students with academic and personal matters. Students can make an appointment by calling 255.7414 or may stop in to 167 Olin Hall to inquire about seeing an advisor on a walk-in basis.

Engineering Advising is responsible for a variety of programs and services that assist in the development of successful engineering students. These include publishing The Sundial, a weekly email newsletter for students that provides information about upcoming deadlines and special programs; organizing the Major Information Fair and other events to help students choose a Major; coordinating the Peer Advisor Program; sending earlyintervention communications to students who may need additional support in specific courses; and providing information on tutoring and academic support services available on campus.

Faculty Advising

Students are assigned a faculty advisor when they begin their course of study in the College of Engineering. They usually keep that advisor until they affiliate with a Major, even though the advisor may not be in the Major in which they intend to specialize. Once students choose a Major, they are assigned a faculty advisor from that Major.

Faculty advisors help students translate their interests into an appropriate course of study, evaluate their curriculum and workload, monitor their progress toward a degree, and take advantage of the diverse opportunities available at Cornell. Students should consult their faculty advisor when they have questions about the academic requirements of the university, the college, or the schools and departments. Faculty advisors evaluate each semester’s program, approve course changes, and approve courses to be used as approved electives. Students must see their faculty advisor whenever they consider adding or dropping a course. Students who wish to petition for an exception to college rules should discuss the matter first with their advisor, who must sign any petition before it can be considered.

To be effective, a faculty advisor must be aware of a student’s academic and personal goals. Students should make appointments to see their advisors as soon as they return to campus after intersession or summer vacation. This is an opportunity for the student and advisor to discuss the student’s goals, reevaluate academic plans, and make necessary changes in course enrollment. Students should also consult with their faculty advisors during the preregistration period to receive approval of their course selections for the following semester.

Students are responsible for staying in contact with their faculty advisor and ensuring that the advisor is aware of their goals and progress. Academic difficulties may be avoided if the advisor is able to recognize problems early. Students often form strong intellectual bonds with their faculty advisors, and this is more apt to happen if the student takes the initiative. Another benefit of developing a relationship with the faculty advisor (and faculty members in general) is that students may wish to ask the advisor for a letter of recommendation at some point in their career. Such letters are most useful when they come from people who know the student well enough to accurately assess their capabilities.

What to Expect from an Advisor

  • Advice. Students should use their advisors as resources for planning their academic program and identifying academic and career goals. The advisor will be able to explain college degree requirements, scheduling/registration procedures, and other academic regulations. While it is not the function of advisors to help students find employment, they should be able to give broad advice on careers in engineering and science and the academic background necessary for such careers. Advisors can also provide information on postgraduate education and general requirements for admission to graduate programs. A faculty advisor may refer a student to other faculty members or offices that are better able to serve the student’s needs.

  • Assistance. Advisors can help students explore special programs, such as cooperative education, international study, dual-degree, and double-Major programs. They may also be helpful in obtaining tutorial assistance or transfer/advanced placement credit, as appropriate. Students often ask their advisors to provide letters of recommendation for scholarships, study abroad, employment, or graduate school.

  • Availability. Students should expect to have ready access to their advisors. Most advisors set aside several hours each week for advising and will usually make appointments outside those hours if necessary. Advisors who are out of town for more than a week will usually designate an alternative advisor to handle urgent problems.

  • Personal Contact. Students should expect to have personal relationships with their advisors, through which the advisors will become familiar with the students’ backgrounds, academic records, and career plans.

What Not to Expect from an Advisor

  • Assessment of Effort Required for Specific Courses. Advisors can determine the appropriateness of a given course in a student’s program, but they cannot predict how difficult the course will be or how much effort it will require.
  • Help with Personal Problems. Students should make their advisors aware of problems that interfere with academic progress, but advisors are not trained to provide counseling for personal problems, nor should they be expected to resolve housing or financial issues. However, they will refer students to the appropriate university office or program.
  • Job Search Assistance. While students should be able to discuss career options with their advisors, it is not the advisor’s responsibility to provide assistance in a job search. Students should contact Cornell Career Services in Barnes Hall or the Engineering Cooperative Education and Career Services office in Carpenter Hall for help in finding employment.
  • Tutoring/Study Skills. Advisors are often able to identify the need for tutoring, remedial course work, or improved study skills but should not be expected to provide the necessary assistance. Students in need of such assistance are generally referred to other resources, such as the Learning Strategies Center.

Student Responsibilities in the Student-Advisor Relationship

  • Accept Referrals. Students should be willing to accept referrals from their advisors and should review the results of such referrals with their advisors after the fact.
  • Initiate Contact. Students are expected to initiate contact with their advisors for scheduling, course changes, and other matters in a timely fashion. Because of teaching commitments, research, and travel obligations, advisors may not be available on short notice. Students are urged to plan ahead and initiate contact with their advisors well in advance of specific deadlines.
  • Keep Advisors Informed. Advisors can provide better advice if they are kept informed of their advisees’ academic progress and career goals. Students should feel free to share this information with their advisors and can expect that their advisors will ask questions and provide appropriate guidance based on the dialogue.
  • Work to Develop Rapport. The rapport necessary for good advising can occur only if both advisor and student make an active effort to develop it. Recognizing that individual advisors have their own styles and personalities, students should respond to the efforts of their advisors to get to know them and their academic interests.

Peer Advising

Each ENGRG 1050 (Engineering Seminar) section has one or two peer advisors: second-, third-, or fourth-year students who have volunteered to help new students understand the course selection process, meet other engineering students, and adjust to life at Cornell. Incoming first-year students meet their peer advisors during orientation week and as part of ENGRG 1050. Subsequent meetings are arranged as needed. Students should feel free to email their peer advisors when they have questions.

Preprofessional Advising

Students who intend to do graduate study in medicine, law, or business have access to resources and services designed specifically to support their professional aspirations. Students should make an appointment with Engineering Advising for general guidance and then, depending on their interests, consult the specific offices and web sites listed below.


Students interested in medicine or other health-related careers must plan their courses early to meet the requirements of the Common Curriculum, an Engineering Major, and the prerequisites of the intended professional course of study. Engineering Advising helps students understand how professional course requirements fit into the Engineering curriculum. The university health career advisor (103 Barnes Hall) assists students in navigating the examination and application processes related to health careers. For additional information, please see:


Prelaw advising is provided by Cornell Career Services, 103 Barnes Hall. For complete
information, please visit


Students interested in business may wish to consider the Dyson Business Minor for Engineers, offered by the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management (AEM) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Information about this minor can be found at, or by visiting Engineering Advising.

Students may also wish to consider special cooperative programs between the College of Engineering and the Johnson Graduate School of Management, which allow students to work on degrees in both areas at the same time. For more information, contact the Engineering Research and Graduate Office, 222 Carpenter Hall, and the admissions office of the Johnson Graduate School of Management, 112 Sage Hall.

Diversity Programs in Engineering

The Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE) office operates programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty levels to facilitate the outreach, recruitment, retention, and overall success of underrepresented minorities, women, and other underrepresented groups in Engineering. DPE is responsible for fostering a vision of diversity appreciation reflective of the College of Engineering’s strategic plan, which enables students from all backgrounds and cultures to thrive and succeed at Cornell. DPE coordinates and plans educational, professional development, and networking opportunities that enhance interaction and learning across groups. For further information, please contact DPE at 255.6403 or stop by 146 Olin Hall.

Engineering Learning Initiatives

Engineering Learning Initiatives, 167 Olin Hall, facilitates academic opportunities for engineering students that enhance the learning environment, support teaching excellence, and cultivate professional development. The programs are outlined below. For more information call 255.9622, send email to, or visit

Academic Excellence Workshops (AEW)

AEWs are optional, 1-credit, collaborative, problem-solving workshops that complement core engineering courses, including MATH, CHEM, CS, and select distribution courses. The weekly two-hour workshops, led by trained peer facilitators, offer a cooperative environment where students work together to enhance understanding of course material. Research shows that such cooperative methods promote higher grades, deeper comprehension, more enjoyment in learning, and more positive attitudes toward academic work. For more information on AEWs, visit


Peer tutors are available free of charge for many first- and second-year core engineering courses, including MATH, CHEM, PHYS, CS, and some distribution courses. Peer tutors, who must have a 3.0 GPA and have earned at least B in the course they tutor, earn an hourly wage and are trained to help their peers master course content and improve learning skills. The one-on-one tutoring is tailored to the individual needs of the student. To request a tutor, go to to complete the online Tutor Request Form, or visit the Engineering Learning Initiatives office in 167 Olin Hall to submit a paper copy.>

Cornell LeaderShape® Institute

The Cornell LeaderShape® Institute is a dynamic, interactive, six-day residential retreat emphasizing vision planning and leadership development. The curriculum is provided by LeaderShape®, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that has been helping young adults learn to “lead with integrity” since 1988. For more information, visit edu/leadershape.

Engineering Registrar

The Engineering Registrar’s Office, located in 158 Olin Hall, is the main repository of all engineering undergraduate and Master of Engineering student records. The Registrar’s Office oversees all course enrollment, grading, course scheduling, room assignments, and examination scheduling for the College of Engineering. It is responsible for maintaining current student information on the university’s student data systems, including all grade, enrollment, affiliation, and transfer credit changes. Additionally, the office manages diploma ordering and official degree posting for all graduating engineering students, ensuring that all requirements are satisfied for the Bachelor of Science degree. The Registrar’s Office also provides student verification letters, petition processing, and assistance with other student registration issues. Official documents relating to academic matters are filed as part of each student’s permanent record and held there.

Students who need an official transcript or certification of enrollment should visit the Office of the University Registrar,, located in B07 Day Hall.

University Student Records Policy

The university regards a student’s enrollment status (e.g. registered, on leave, withdrawn) as directory information that may be released unless a student submits a “no-release” request to the University Registrar. Additionally, where the university believes that it is in a dependent student’s best interest, information from the student’s educational records may, at the university’s discretion, be released to the parents or legal guardians of a dependent student. Such disclosure will generally be limited to information about a student’s official status at the university, but parents or legal guardians of a dependent student may also be notified when a student has voluntarily withdrawn from the university or has been required to withdraw; when a student has been placed on academic warning; when the student’s academic good standing or promotion is at issue; when a student has been placed on disciplinary probation or restriction; or when a student otherwise engages in behavior calling into question the appropriateness of the student’s continued enrollment in the university. Unless otherwise indicated in writing by the student at the time of registration, or thereafter, the university will presume that a full-time undergraduate student is a dependent as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code.