Advising Checklist

For New Undergraduate Students


Starting your studies at McGill may seem overwhelming, but there are lots of resources to help make the transition to university easier. Some of your most important resources during your first year, and throughout your degree, are your academic advisors.  You should contact them whenever you have questions about course selection, program or degree requirements, or need a referral to another university office or resource.

This is a suggested timeline of when to access academic advising and other university resources from the time you’re first admitted to McGill to the end of your first year, as well as some tips to help you along the way.

You can also download a copy of the PDF icon Advising Checklist  and the PDF icon How to Prepare for a Meeting with Your Academic Advisor

On this page:  Summer | Fall | Winter | Preparing for your advising meeting


□   Read over the Accepted students and First-Year websites to find out what you need to do over the summer, and about the student services and resources at McGill.

□   Set up and check your McGill e-mail address regularly (or forward it to an email address that you check regularly).  This is the only email address that will be used for communications from McGill starting in your first semester.

□   Consult your Faculty’s website and the eCalendar for information on choosing your programs/courses, your program and degree requirements and university regulations.

□   Review the Important Dates website, where you’ll find registration dates, Add/Drop deadlines and exam periods for the upcoming academic year.

□   Check out the Academic Advising website to familiarize yourself with what the different types of advisors do and the Advisor Directory.

□   Log into myCourses to find the McGill 101 course and complete this online orientation which includes essential information about how to prepare for your first year at McGill.

□   CEGEP students: Attend the CSI McGill session (June 9, 2017).

□   Students with Advanced Standing: Determine which courses you may get an exemption from/credit for and make sure that your final, official results or test scores are sent directly to Service Point by the testing board or institution.

o   If you will start your first year at McGill with 24 or more credits of advanced standing, you’ll be a U1 student.  If you will have fewer than 24 credits of advanced standing, you’ll be a U0 student.  And if you don’t know which situation applies to you, contact your Faculty or School’s Student Affairs Office for help.

□   Register for your courses using Minerva.  It is recommended that you register for BOTH your Fall and Winter semester courses now (make sure to add at least one course by Aug. 14, 2017, to avoid a late registration fee). 

o   Consult with an advisor if you have specific questions about course selection.  You can make changes to your registration up to the end of the Course Change (Add/Drop) period in each semester, so do your best to choose your classes now and you can make changes as necessary later on.

o   U0 students: Get your Freshman Program courses approved by a Faculty advisor, if necessary for your program/degree.

o   U1 students: Choose your program options - Major, Minor, Concentration, Honours, etc.  Contact your Departmental/Faculty advisors with questions about course selection.

□   If you have problems registering in Minerva (error messages, etc.), read the Help text carefully, look over the registration website, and read the tips on registration problems (applicable to students in all programs). 


□   Attend Orientation Week, including Discover McGill, Academic Expectations Day and your Faculty’s orientation.

□   Finalize your Fall registration during the Add/Drop period (until Sept. 19, 2017).

□   Complete the mandatory Academic Integrity Tutorial in myCourses (called AAAA 100).

□   Continue to check your McGill email address regularly for important information from the university and your advisor(s).

□   Take note of the advising support that’s available to you throughout your McGill studies. Attend Outdoor Advising Day and any in-residence advising sessions.

□   Discuss any concerns about midterm results or course grades with your Course Instructors, Teaching Assistants and/or Faculty advisor.

□   If you are feeling overwhelmed by the adjustment to university or experiencing personal or academic stress, you can find support through McGill’s Student Services, academic resources, and student-run programs such as Nightline and the Peer Support Centre

□   If you are interested in going on an exchange in the next academic year, you must attend an Exchange Information Session.  Several sessions are held throughout October and November.

□   Get prepared for the Winter semester now!  Verify your registration in Minerva and meet with your advisors, if you have any questions.


□   Review your Unofficial Transcript in Minerva.

o   Look for any Holds on your record (often due to missing transcripts/test scores in your admission file).  A Hold could prevent you from adding or dropping courses or from obtaining an official copy of your transcript.

o   Check your Academic Standing.  If you are in Interim Probationary or Unsatisfactory Standing after the Fall semester, contact your Student Affairs Office to make a plan to address this.

o   If you entered McGill with Advanced Standing, verify that this now appears on your student record (advanced standing credits/course exemptions will appear at the top of your Unofficial Transcript).  If anything is missing, contact your Student Affairs Office for assistance.

□   Finalize your Winter registration during the Add/Drop period (until Jan. 23, 2018).

□   U0 students: Choose your program(s) for the upcoming U1 year and add them to your record in Minerva during the registration period for next year, if your program allows, otherwise contact your Student Affairs or Advising Office. 

o   You can meet with your Faculty advisors for any questions about your degree requirements and choosing program options.  Contact your Departmental/program advisors for any questions about registration and your program planning.

□   U1 students: Register for courses for next year in consultation with your Departmental/program advisors.

□   Meet with your advisors regularly (at least once every academic year) and make use of the advising support that’s available to you through your time at McGill.  

How to prepare for a meeting with your advisor:

□   Check first to see if you should make an appointment with your advisor (usually by email) or if they have drop-in hours.  You can typically find this information on the website of the relevant Department or Faculty Student Affairs Office.

□   Remember that during peak advising periods (i.e. the Add/Drop period, after midterms, the end of the semester, etc.), your advisors will be very busy and there may be a delay to email replies or in making an appointment.  (Be proactive and meet with your advisors well in advance of registration or other deadlines!)

□   Carefully read over important information such as your program and degree requirements, and any related university or Faculty policies, and write down any specific questions that you have. You can find detailed information on your degree and program requirements in the eCalendar and on your Departmental and Faculty websites.

□   For questions about your course selection, review the course options available to you in Minerva and the eCalendar, and write down the course name, number and CRN for any that you want to discuss with your advisor.

□   Your program or degree may have an audit form, handbook, course lists, etc. that you can use to track your progress.  If this is the case for you, bring a copy of these documents with you for review with your advisor.  (These documents can often be found on the Departmental or program website.)

□   If it is your first year at McGill and you have advanced standing credits or course exemptions from previous studies (i.e. AP exams, IB, A-levels, French Baccalaureate, university/college courses, etc.), bring a copy of your grades or final test results, as well as any related course syllabi, with you to your appointment.  This information might be helpful for your advisor.

□   Bring a pen and paper, laptop or other device to take notes during your meeting. 

□   After your meeting, follow-up by email to confirm what you discussed and ask any further questions that you might have.

If you meet with your advisors regularly throughout your studies at McGill, they will help guide you through your degree and program requirements, course selection and registration, and can offer support and referrals if you have academic or personal difficulty.

Your advisors are a valuable resource, use them!