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Advisement FAQ's

Who assigns the SIRS PIN?

For students accepted to a degree or certificate program, the PIN is assigned by a computer program, and the Advisement Center staff sends the student a letter notifying them of their PIN.  This allows them initial access to their SIRS account, and they must then change the PIN to a number that they can remember and establish PIN hint security question.  Students may also reset their PIN at the Registrar’s window or at the Help Desk if they have photo ID.

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Who Is My Advisor?

The majority of our students are assigned to faculty advisors based upon their academic program.  You can find out who your advisor is by checking your DegreeWorks audit in your SIRS account.  If there is no advisor listed in your SIRS account or the advisor listed is incorrect, contact your academic center.

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Will My Advisor Tell Me What Courses To Take?

Your advisor will help you to clarify your educational, career, and life goals as well as assist you in selecting the most appropriate courses to meet your needs.  Both students and advisors have important roles and responsibilities in the advising process.  Ultimately, you are the one who schedules and registers for your courses.

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Is Advisement Required and do I have to see an advisor?

When you first begin an academic program at MVCC, you will participate in SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration).  SOAR begins with a group workshop and finishes with an individual advising appointment.  The entire program lasts about 3 hours and must be completed in one day.  The advisor you meet with will help you interpret your DegreeWorks audit in your SIRS account.  Your DegreeWorks audit is a tool you will use to stay on track toward your degree or certificate.  Following SOAR, you will be assigned a faculty advisor connected to your degree or certificate program.  We recommend that you see your advisor at least once per semester, and especially prior to scheduling your next term’s courses, and that you use your DegreeWorks audit to track your progress toward completion.

Advisement also may be required for students on academic intervention or probation.

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When should I meet with my advisor?

You should meet with your advisor whenever you have a question about academic issues, your plan of study, campus resources, or possible graduation.  You should also meet with your advisor every semester before you register for classes.

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Can I request a new advisor?

If schedules or other issues make it difficult for you to meet with your advisor, you can request a change by filling out a New Advisor Request Form.

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After I have registered, is there anything else I need to do?

Yes, you need to secure your classes with the Business Office.  Whether you use financial aid, pay by FACTS (online payment or payment plan), credit card, check, cash, or third party payer such as an employer, you always need to secure your schedule by notifying the Business Office of how you will be paying.  The simplest way to secure your classes is to click on "Pay My Bill/Confirm My Charges" at the top of the Main Menu in SIRS.  There you can view your bill and, scroll down, and confirm charges (if there is enough aid on account) or make a payment.

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When can a student drop or add a course?

You can drop a course until the last day to withdraw on the Academic Calendar.  However you should check with the Financial Aid office about whether withdrawal from a course will affect your full-time status for financial aid eligibility.  You may add a course to your schedule during the first week of the semester without any special permission.  After the first week, you need the instructor's signature on a late enrollment form.  After the second week, you need the signature of both the instructor and signature of the Academic Center Dean who oversees that course.

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What is the difference between billing hours and credit hours on my schedule?

Billing hours includes non-credit courses such as preparatory math, reading, and writing.  These courses do not offer college credit or count toward your degree.  However, they do count toward your tuition bill, and they count as part of your course load for the purposes of financial aid eligibility.

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Why do I have to take a non-credit course?

Based on your placement test results and the requirements of your degree or certificate program, you may be required to take preparatory non-credit courses.  The purpose is to help students strengthen skills in critical areas so that they will be successful in subsequent credit bearing coursework.

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Why were my classes dropped?

There are many reasons why classes may be dropped.  It could be because you did not secure your classes with payment or confirm your charges by the deadline.  It could be that you have lost eligibility to be a student because you did not meet the terms of your academic intervention or probation.  It could also have to do with immunization requirements, the cancellation of one or more courses, or because you did not meet the pre-requisites as expected.  The Advisement Center staff can help you with next steps.

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How Can I Change My Major?

You can go to the Advisement Center on either campus to meet with an advisor to discuss possible changes in your academic program.  They will provide you with a worksheet and resources to explore your career interests and goals and encourage you to consider a wide range of other factors such as the job market, transfer colleges, financial aid, and time to completion.  When you have made a decision, your change of major request will be entered by the advisor.

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What are popular misconceptions of your office?

One misconception is that we have the only advisors on campus.  Students frequently stop in looking for a faculty advisor, and we direct them to the advisor’s location or contact information.

Because so many students see an advisor in the advisement center, people think that we don’t encourage students to see their assigned (faculty) advisor. We do, all the time!  But if you don't know where to go with a question about your class schedule or academic progress, the Advisement Center is a good place to start.

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The one thing I wish people really know about our office/department is:

That we work together as a team to help solve student problems.  Our work helps in the retention rates of students who may be thinking of dropping out and the success of students who are not sure that they have the motivation or ability to make it through.

That a handful of advisors in our department on the Utica campus alone see anywhere between 600 and 1700 students each month  and that we all do a lot of advising by email at the students’ request.

The Advisement/Counseling reception desk manages more than 25 calendars for advising, CTJPS, Adult Learner Services, and Counseling.  In addition the staff sends thousands of letters each year including:


• The letter to every accepted students with their M number and email account information

• The letter to every accepted student with their SIRS PIN.

• A letter to the parents of all traditional age students inviting them to join the College’s parent listserv.

• A letter to every student, stratified by their current academic standing, either congratulating them or cautioning them about their midterm grades.

• A letter to every student placed on academic intervention or probation.

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Where can a student find out more information on their academic standing?
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