Advising Preparation

Academic advising is not just about scheduling classes. It is an educational process in which the student and advisor are partners in meeting established learning outcomes, working toward academic success, and outlining steps for achieving the student’s personal, academic, and career goals. At Butler, academic advising provides the student with the opportunity to build a collaborative relationship with the advisor for the following purposes:

  • To gain assistance in planning the student’s educational career
  • To learn the skills needed for academic success
  • To learn how to access the variety of campus resources and available services

Advisors take time to get to know the student by becoming aware of the student’s interests as well as personal, academic, and career goals, and helping the student develop a plan to achieve those goals.

With New Student Registration, an academic advising appointment will be arranged after all required placement exams have been completed.

The advisor will be a faculty member from the college or department of your intended major. He or she may or may not become your official advisor. Your official advisor will be listed in your My.Butler portal once the match is made prior to the first day of class in August.

During your advising appointment, you and your advisor will discuss which classes are required for your major as well as available options in Butler’s Core Curriculum. Your advisor will assist you in determining the appropriate mix of courses for first semester enrollment. This may include an introductory class in your major, prerequisite courses, Core Curriculum classes, and electives.

  1. Begin by looking at the curriculum guidelines for your major on the department’s website. These guidelines will indicate what courses are required to complete your degree and in some cases offer a suggested sequence.
  2. Next, learn about Butler’s Core Curriculum. These are the classes required of all Butler students, no matter the major.
  3. Lastly, explore elective courses and courses that connect to a potential second major or minor.

The first year is a great time to explore new topics of interest. The Fall 2020 Recommended Courses for New Students booklet is a great resource as you prepare for your advising conversation. It highlights courses most appropriate for first-year student enrollment, including course descriptions of Core Curriculum classes. As classes are added or updated, revisions and additions to the course options will likely occur.

You must take at least 12 credit hours of classes to be considered a full-time student. Maintaining full-time status is very important to your financial aid, athletic eligibility, scholarships, and insurance eligibility. A typical course load at Butler ranges between 14 and 18 credit hours per semester; the average first-year student will enroll in 15-16 credit hours. For most students, this is about five or six classes. When meeting with your academic advisor, discuss how many classes will be manageable for you in your first semester as well as what is appropriate for your major.

Don’t feel alone! Many students enter Butler with an open mind as to what they want to study, and Butler students can declare an academic major of Exploratory Studies, which helps identify interests and possible disciplines to study. Nearly every major offers an introductory class so you may find one that strikes a chord with you. By exploring a wide range of academic fields and the core curriculum, you might discover a subject area in which to major, minor, or study as an elective. To support your decision-making process, you can work with an Exploratory Studies advisor who is familiar with all the majors offered at Butler.

Exploratory students are invited to enroll in a unique 2-credit hour academic and career exploration class (LC 103). Decision-making, self-assessment, academic options, and career planning are foundational concepts in this course.

Your advising appointment will be with the advisor of your primary major. If you intend to pursue multiple programs of study, alert your advisor to this at the beginning of your appointment. Once your first year at Butler is underway, you can officially declare additional majors and minors.

Since Butler values small class sizes, this will occasionally happen. It is always beneficial to have several course options in mind before your advising appointment. Have a list of alternative classes just in case. As you look for courses, be flexible with regard to topic, course selection, and time of day. Remember, this is just your first year. You will have plenty of time over the next few semesters to take your needed courses.

Contact the Office of Admission to change your major at

Butler University does offer course credit to students who have taken the Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College Level Examination Program exams. For details, click here.

If you are registering for Butler classes before you take your AP/IB/CLEP exams, or before they are scored and received by Butler, your advisor will likely enroll you in those classes anyway. It is easier to drop a class once the scores arrive than to try to add one later. Students earning AP/IB credit ordinarily have these credits applied to major requirements, at the discretion of the department, or as electives fulfilling Butler degree requirements. Credit is not awarded for First Year Seminar (FYS).

NOTE:  AP scores typically arrive in July. Be sure that you have requested that your scores be sent to Butler University.

If you have studied a foreign language in high school and would like to continue your studies at Butler, even if it is not required by your major program, you are encouraged to do so. This will enable you to maintain your momentum in the language, and you may even gain a second major or minor by doing so. If you do have foreign language experience, you will be required to take a placement exam to ensure appropriate course placement.

If you would like to begin a new language while at Butler, please do! You will not be required to take a placement exam, but you will start at the 101 level.

If you need to make changes to your course schedule after your advising meeting, and prior to the start of fall semester, contact the faculty member you met with, the department chair of your major, your college’s Dean’s office, or the Center for Academic Success and Exploration.

If you need to make changes to your schedule once the academic semester has begun, the following applies:

  • As a first year student, you must work with your academic advisor during your first semester. You may complete your own add and drop processes during all subsequent semesters.
  • You may add a course through the first 5 days of classes in fall or spring. The add period cuts off at 11:59 PM on the fifth day of classes.
  • You may drop a course through the first 10 days of classes in fall or spring. The drop period cuts off at 11:59 PM on the tenth day of classes.