Surviving Priority Advising: Your Recipe for Success

8 Mar

The priority advising period can feel really stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Planning ahead can help you get the most out of your time with your academic advisor. If you are thinking of switching majors, start the process early so that you won’t run into issues during registration.


  • 1 prepared student
  • 1 insightful advisor
  • 1-19 units (add to taste)
  • 1 list of possible classes
  • 1 list of questions
  • 15 minutes of 1:1 time


  1. Find a time to meet with your advisor. Check Wise Advising to see when your advisor has appointments. Most advising offices email out a schedule of when you can come in for advising, so look in your CatMail if you aren’t sure. In general, this will be the week before you register. Some advising offices also switch to walk-in only during priority advising, so plan ahead! Walk-in hours are on a first come, first-served basis
    Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.03.26 AM
  2. Open your advisement report. Getting there is simple: log into UAccess and click on “My Academics” to the left of your course schedule. Click on the first link “My advisement report”.
    Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.04.08 AM
  3. Create a draft 4-year plan. Some departments post sample 4 year plans that you can use as a rough guideline. If you’ve already created a plan with your advisor, skip this step. Some things to take into consideration: Pre-requisites for upper division courses, total units needed to keep a scholarship, pursuing multiple degrees, any minors, and completing all Gen Ed requirements. Your plan may look different from the sample one depending on your math placement, or any transfer/exam credits counting towards different requirements, that is ok!

  4. Decide which requirements you absolutely need to complete next semester. Use the search function in UAccess to see when any pre-requisite courses are offered. Try to get them out of the way, if possible. This will help you stay on track to graduate on time. I like to use the “browse course catalog” feature that lets you search by letter, but it’s all up to personal preference.

    Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 9.37.08 AM

    There are two ways to search for open courses in UAccess!

  5. Find those courses on UAccess and add them to your shopping cart. Just click the green “select” button and then hit next and it will be added. This is helpful for your advisor because they can see what’s in your shopping cart and give you advice based off of what you’ve selected.

  6. Decide which other courses you want to fill your semester with. Pick ones that sound interesting and fulfill requirements. Add multiple back-ups to your shopping cart in case they fill up on registration day.

  7. Make sure you will have enough travel time to make it to class on time. Sometimes there’s no way around it, but if you can avoid running from one class to the other because you only have ten minutes to make it across campus you will thank yourself later.

  8. Check for any holds on your account. You can see thesA by going to your homepage on UAccess and looking at the right-hand column. Click the “details” button to see more specifics and get information about how to clear a hold. If you aren’t sure what to do, be sure to bring it up to your advisor and they will point you in the right direction.
    Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 8.11.09 AM
  9. Write down any questions you have for your advisor and bring the list with you to your appointment. I often forget at least one thing I needed to ask my advisor, having it all ready to go beforehand helps me get the answers I need quickly. If you do forget a question, email them as soon as you remember and follow-up if you do not get a response in 24-48 hours.
  10. Get to your appointment early. This is especially true for walk-in hours, if you have limited availability you will want to get on the list as soon as possible. Most departments also have a check-in process for appointments, so arriving early helps make sure that does not cut into your time with your advisor.


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