Advising Toolbox

Special Populations

Advising by Student Type

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  • Tips for Advising

    If any questions arise from student-athletes they should contact their SASS Academic Coordinator. Details below;

    Garrett Knudson—Men’s & Women’s Track and Cross Country, Volleyball, Women’s Soccer; 910-962-2775;

    Shauna Baker-Karl—Baseball, Softball, Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving, Men’s Soccer; 910-962-4179;

    Shannon Pease—Men’s & Women’s Basketball, Men’s & Women’s Tennis; 910-962-7530;

    Drew Scales—Men’s & Women’s Golf; 910-9692-3001;

    Student Athletes Mental Health

Adult Learners

  • Tips for Advising

    Tip #1 – Where possible, offer flexible advisement for adult learners

    Because non-traditional students typically have more life experiences and responsibilities than traditional students, specialized advisement and registration methods are necessary.  Advisors can also provide flexible advisement options, such as online or phone advisement and extended evening hours.

     Tip #2 – Demystify college jargon

    Each college has terms and acronyms that new students, especially non-traditional students, may find intimidating. Provide new students with a glossary of terms to help them acclimate to the institution.

    Tip #3 – Form a non-traditional student network

    Introduce mothers to mothers, fathers to fathers, full-time working students to other working students. This can help non-traditional students feel more at home in the higher education setting.  Providing a peer support group for non-traditional students is a way to connect these students with one another.

    Tip #4 – Develop collaborations across campus to help connect students to important support offices and resources

    To provide non-traditional students with an academic success support system, advisors must develop a collaborative network system across campus and advocate for their unique needs.  Collaboration with Career Center, University Learning Center, Undergraduate Admissions, Office of the Registrar, Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, Housing and Residence Life, Academic Units, Office of Military Affairs, Counseling Center, and Disability Services enables advisors to provide information and connect students to essential resources.

    Tip #5 – Be a campus advocate for adult learners to create organizational change

    Help the campus climate address the ease of transfer credit process, options for flexible program design and course delivery, recognition of work experience toward learning objectives, and academic and motivational advising that is supportive of non-traditional population’s life and career goals. 

Early College Students

  • Tips for Advising
    • Tip #1 - Credit from community college does not guarantee graduation in two years

    Even if a student earned their Associate's Degree, it doesn't necessarily mean that they only have two more years of college left. There are some majors that require a separate admissions process, prerequisite courses, and/or a tight sequence of courses. Even with an Associate's Degree, students may also have other University Studies (general education) requirements to meet for graduation. For a list of University Studies requirements, required of all students,visit this link.For a list of all UNCW majors with requirements,visit this link make sure to select the year the student started at UNCW.

    • Tip #2 - Avoid stereotyping students

    Each student has a unique background and experience from their community college, which may or may not include a completed associate's degree. Some early college students even arrive without a planned major. Major exploration is still an option.

First Year Spring Admits (FYSAs)

  • Tips for Advising

    Advisors should encourage FYSA students to:

    • Current students should check their degree audit to insure their transcripts were received as well as evaluated.
    • Review the UC FYSA website – This website includes links to assist with transfer course selection, Maynooth information, FAQs, and important dates.
    • Review the Steps to Take After Your Acceptance – Includes links to Transient Study Form and steps for selecting transfer courses, etc.
    • Review the FYSA Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
    • Communicate with the Office of Housing and Residence Life regarding housing options and processes.
    • Check their UNCW email on a regular basis for newsletters from UC, Admissions communication and other important UNCW next steps.
    • Check their Teal Ticket for next steps.
    • Request an FYSA Mentor through the First-Year Spring Admit Mentor student organization. Info to be included in newsletters.
    • Get connected to involvement, other students, and the campus early in January. 

First Year Students (Traditional Freshmen)

Honors Students

International Students

  • Tips for Advising

    1. Federal regulations require international students to “pursue a full course of study” every fall and spring semester.  This is usually 12 credits, but there are some exceptions.  Please speak with the Office of International Programs if advising an international student who wants to register for less than 12 credits.

    2. UNCW offers an advanced-level English course, designed for non-native English speakers.  WLC 105 is a 3-credit course that helps students improve their writing and speaking skills, along with learning about the U.S. classroom environment.

    3. International transfer students often face obstacles when having their foreign coursework transfer to UNCW, given the differences in international educational systems.  Transcripts, credit equivalencies, and course content all vary greatly.  The Registrar’s Office can assist with this process, as can the Office of International Programs.

    4. Advisors should encourage international students to connect with the Office of International Programs.  We offer immigration advising, an International Student Orientation, host family program, student buddy program, and weekly programs and events that encourage international students to connect with fellow internationals, and American students!  

    International Student Mental Health

Online Students

Student in Transition

Transfer Students

UNC Online Learners

Undecided Students

  • Tips for Advising

    Tip #1 – Refer to resources on campus

    Faculty, staff, and even advanced undergraduate or graduate students are a great resource. The Career Center is a great starting point for students to take assessments, learn more about careers, and investigate skills related to different disciplines. The What Can I Do With a Major Website is also a great resource to begin a variety of conversations. 

     Tip #2 – Demystify the idea that everyone has a major

    Every student arrives at UNCW with a major indicated, but it does mean this is their final major. The average student changes their major three times and while in University College, all students' major is UC-Major Name Here. This means they are essentially undecided. Incoming first year students do not have to declare an official major until after completing 24 hours with a 2.0 cumulative GPA as well as completing any prerequisites needed for the major to declare.

    Tip #3 – Have students narrow down their choices

    Having too many choices can be debilitating for some students. Instead of asking students to figure out their major, ask them what makes them happy or what activities they enjoy on a daily or weekly basis. Consider building skills or choosing courses that line up with these interests that will eventually lead to a major. Another activity that students can try is looking at the list of all majors on campus and starting to cross-out the ones that they are not interested in pursuing. (

    Tip #4 – Think backwards

    Instead of asking a student what they want their major to be, ask about their hopes for a future career. Sometimes the career can guide the major.

    Tip #5 – Be familiar with the Students in Transition Process

    Students in Transition are transfer or upperclass students who are not able to achieve their initial goal of completing gateway requirements for certain majors such as the required 2.7 cumulative GPA for Business majors. There are resources and assistance on campus to help these students.  

    Tip #6 – Get students communicating with professionals

    Have students conduct informational interviews with professionals in a number of fields or shadow professionals to learn more about that profession or field outlook.

Veteran Students

  • Tips for Advising

    Tip #1 – See veterans as individuals and resist stereotyping

    There is no standard veteran student.  Like civilian students, veteran students possess a vast array of backgrounds, identities, and experiences.  This diversity has significant value to add to the campus climate.  Consider the reintegration experience for every student veteran can be different, yet one experience often noted is a disconnect in life experience between traditional students and veteran students.  These life experiences can often lead to stereotypes that keep veterans from feeling fully welcomed and engaged with the institution.  A great deal of these stereotypes range from political beliefs and ideology to mental health issues. 

    Tip #2 – Know the basics

    Those active duty military personnel and veterans coming to our institutions have fought for our freedom and have served our country well.  Advisors should take time to educate themselves on military culture and foster a basic understanding of the various branches of military service to more readily identify with their military population.

    Tip # 3 – Assign a single point of contact

    Military students are used to living and operating in a structured environment with clearly defined roles, rules, and channels for communication.  Assign a single resource who can serve as a liaison and connect students with support, resources, and other critical areas across campus to complete tasks.

    Tip # 4 – Enlist the help of faculty veterans

    Develop an opportunity for faculty who have served in the military to participate in discussions and assist (mentor) veteran students with the challenges of meeting academic expectations, time management, and balance academic life with other responsibilities. Utilizing faculty who understand the culture of the military can appear simplistic but will provide the student a welcoming relief to what can be a stressful transition. 

    Tip # 5 – Understand potential barriers to veteran success on campus

    Academic advisors must understand the unique challenges this student population faces while transitioning to higher education, particularly in terms of administrative (e.g. admissions process, financial benefits, transfer credit), transitional (e.g. identity development, community involvement, coping skills), and personal challenges (e.g. reluctance to seek assistance and understanding limitations). The second challenge is to assist military-affiliated students in recognizing and navigating through institutional roadblocks.