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Academic Advising

With students learning on campus and remotely, we want to assure you that academic advisers across Penn State are well prepared to support you regardless of your location. This video will provide you with important information about academic advising.

Frequently Asked Questions

Review the following frequently asked questions about advising. For additional information, read all frequently asked questions.


Please check Starfish to schedule an appointment with your academic adviser or contact your academic adviser via email to learn more about how they will conduct advising appointments.

Undergraduate students must use the appeal process to petition for a retroactive late drop through the Faculty Senate. As soon as you determine you cannot participate in the course, you should work with your academic adviser to ensure that all parts of your petition are complete prior to submission. Note that you should not submit your petition to the Faculty Senate Office directly; a petition can only be submitted through your college or campus. The Faculty Senate Office has additional details on submitting a petition.

Graduate students’ requests for a retroactive late drop must be submitted by the graduate program to the student’s Records Coordinator in the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services. The graduate program should provide a detailed explanation describing the extenuating circumstances, why the course in question could not be dropped by the published late-drop deadline, and why the course cannot be completed as planned and indicate its support for the request.

For both undergraduate and graduate students receiving financial aid, having incomplete (DF, NG, LD) or failing grades (F) on their transcript at the end of the semester may negatively impact their federal and state aid satisfactory academic progress review, which typically occurs annually at the end of spring semester. This annual review determines a student’s eligibility for aid for future semesters. However, students who are on financial aid probation for fall 2020 should consult with an Office of Student Aid adviser to discuss how a fall 2020 incomplete or failing grade may impact their spring 2021 financial aid eligibility.

Watch for email notifications about progress reports, and be sure to set up a meeting with your instructor and/or adviser to address concerns with your academic progress and make a plan to get back on track. You can check your course syllabus for your instructor’s preferred contact information. Many students will be able to make an appointment with their adviser directly through Starfish. If your adviser does not have scheduling enabled in Starfish, you can contact your adviser or advising office directly to set up an appointment.

Your academic adviser will have tips and strategies for communicating with your course instructors. If you have already tried to resolve the issue through communication with your instructor and are still experiencing problems, you may contact the department head, school director, or director of academic affairs of the unit offering the course. You can also complete our Academic Concern form to get your issues addressed.

Your instructors will let you know how best to contact them, how quickly you can expect to hear back from them on correspondence, and when and where they will be holding office hours, whether in-person or virtual. This information will be on your course syllabus, but if you are unsure, please ask until you have the information you need. Penn State Learning resources may also be provided at the department or college level, and every campus has a learning center.

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