a, Student Life

Advice on navigating advising

As we settle into another semester, many students find themselves facing looming questions they put off over the holidays. What’s the best way to find a summer job or internship? Do you have enough credits to graduate on time? How can your budget accommodate another semester’s tuition fees?

One of the most frustrating experiences for a McGill student is waiting for hours outside an advisor’s office, only to be redirected to another line. As our spare time begins to disappear with the return to school, the Tribune sets out to explain where to turn when you need help at McGill.

Faculty advisors

Your faculty advisor is your go-to person for information concerning your degree. Go to them for problems or questions regarding course registration, to make sure you will have enough credits to graduate, and to discuss the majors or minors that interest you. You should also talk to them if your personal, financial, or medical circumstances are going to affect your academics.

For most degree programs, you can find this advisor in your faculty’s Student Affairs Office. See your program’s website for more detailed information.

Are you wondering what courses you should take to fill the requirements for your major? The answers to program-specific questions can be found in departmental advising. Visit them for information on course requirements, scholarships and financial aid, equivalencies for courses completed at other universities, and exemptions from required courses.

Departmental advisors are often only available at the busiest advising times like Add/Drop period. They usually have specific office hours, so be sure to plan accordingly. Visit your department’s office or their website to learn how and when you can contact their advisors.

Career advisors

Operating under the Career Planning Service (CaPS), career advisors provide assistance with numerous employment-related queries. Are you graduating soon and don’t know what to do with your degree? Considering applying for graduate school? The answer is probably at CaPS. CaPS also offers a peer advising service that helps undergraduate students prepare for their careers and the job market, and where students can even receive help improving their LinkedIn profile.

CaPS is located in the Brown Building. Visit or call their office at 514-398-3304 to make an appointment, or drop by their C-Lounge sessions for advising without an appointment.

Financial advisors

If you’re interested in budgeting but are having trouble creating or sticking to your financial plan, McGill Scholarships and Financial Aid offers advisors who can help you get back on track. This could include anything from tips on how to cut back expenses to planning how to repay loans and avoid debt. Before you book an appointment, make sure you’ve already tried out the Frugal Scholar Money Management Program, which enables students to manage their own finances independently. See http://www.mcgill.ca/studentaid/finances for more information.

To book an appointment with an advisor, fill out your financial profile on Minerva before contacting the Student Aid Office at 514-398-6013.

The Student Advocacy Program

In the event that you’re faced with an accusation for a disciplinary offence or want to file a formal complaint against the university, you can receive free advice and representation through the Student Advocacy Program. As part of the Legal Information Clinic at McGill, this program can provide you with an advisor who will help you prepare your case, give you information about your rights, and represent you in internal McGill procedures.

The Legal Information Clinic and the Student Advocacy Office are both located in the SSMU Building. You can also contact Student Advocacy at 514-398-4384.

Service Point

While not technically an advising service, all students find themselves dealing with Service Point’s endless lines at some point during their time at McGill, so it’s important to know exactly when you need to brave the crowds. Many of its services concern paperwork you may need to supply or acquire in the course of your degree, such as legal documents, international health insurance, transcripts, and diplomas. Financial matters like tuition and RESPs are also dealt with here, as well as student cards, exam deferrals, and help with Minerva.

Service Point is open throughout the year. Go early in the morning or postpone your visit until later in the semester if possible to avoid lengthy wait times. You can contact them by phone at 514-398-7878.

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