What you need to know

The Registrar’s Office supports students from registration to graduation through our stewardship of their academic records, as well as through our work with faculty committees and our hands-on approach to degree audits and fulfillment of the General Institute Requirements. We also assist advisors in navigating MIT’s registration procedures and academic policies.

First-year students are assigned advisors, often in conjunction with upperclass associate advisors, by the Office of the First Year. Together, you will help students choose subjects and get acquainted with MIT. You may wish to share this list of academic exploration subjects with your advisees to help them expand their fields of knowledge and consider possible future careers. Some advisors lead weekly seminars with their advisees and associate advisors. Others choose a more traditional path, emphasizing one-on-one interactions.

When students declare a major, usually at the end of their first year, they are assigned an advisor within their department. If you and/or your advisee find that you are incompatible, contact your undergraduate headquarters to request that a new advisor be assigned.

Some key points to remember:

  • Advisors can access student information through WebSIS, including their advisee’s pre-registration, class schedule, and registration status; grade report and undergraduate audit; and address information and photo.
  • An online advising folder for first-year students includes test scores and assignments for various programs and subjects.
  • Keep track of your students' performance through fifth-week flags and the first-year grade reporting system.

Academic responsibilities

  • Become sufficiently acquainted with each advisee to be able to help him or her make academic decisions and consider career options.
  • Assist each student in selecting subjects for the term and approve registration.
  • Be available for consultation and to approve any appropriate changes to your student's registration using our Add/Drop application.
    • If you are not available on Registration Day or just before Add or Drop Date, notify your advisees and either arrange an earlier meeting or clearly identify another faculty member who can discuss and approve last-minute changes.
  • Keep up-to-date copies of administrative records of your student’s academic program in his or her folder.
  • Be available and ready at the end of each term to discuss the academic and/or personal circumstances of your advisee.
  • Be able to assess your student’s ability and performance.
    • With appropriate permission, you may provide candid appraisals, recommendations, or performance evaluations for scholarship applications or admission to graduate schools, or to prospective employers or legitimately concerned outside individuals or agencies.

Supporting your advisee

It is more difficult to define an advisor's responsibilities in the areas of personal advice and support. Although students are expected to take the initiative to get help from advisors and other Institute resources, they are often reluctant to do so. In a community as large as MIT, it is not uncommon for an advisee — particularly if not outgoing by nature — to become isolated.

We recommend that you keep the emotional well-being of your advisee(s) in mind and offer help and encouragement at regular intervals by staying in touch throughout the term. Inform them of the best way to contact you, whether by phone, in-person appointments, or for non-sensitive information, email.

If a problem arises, connect your students with S^3, which can assess the situation and make referrals, if needed.

Key resources

You may wish to reference or provide the following resources to your advisees: