CCAS Orientation 2021

Welcome to CCAS Orientation!

On this page you will find important information about CCAS, learn how to access advising during the semester, refresh yourself on important academic dates and deadlines, and have a virtual introduction to the CCAS team!

At the bottom of this site, you will find links to explore several campus resources; these offices exist to support your identities, your health and wellness, your academic success, and your involvement with the campus community.


Every student will have an assigned CCAS advisor, but we are also a team who works together to serve all students! Watch your assigned advisor’s Introduction video here, and while you’re there – check out the videos from our entire team!

CCAS is a community of professional and peer advisors who work together to support all exploring students at UW-Madison. We look forward to working with you – welcome to UW-Madison and CCAS!


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Who is CCAS?

Cross-College Advising Service, CCAS, is an advising office that exists to serve all undergraduate students who are undecided about their major, exploring several major options, and who seek individualized help to explore academic options.

If I'm a CCAS student, which college am I in?

Great question! We know it can be confusing at times. While CCAS itself is not a school or college at UW-Madison, all students assigned to CCAS are students in the College of Letters & Science.

We know that many students we work with may be considering majors in other schools and colleges – and that’s great! CCAS is here to help you find the major path that is best for you. Historically about 40% of the students who begin their college career with CCAS end up graduating from a school or college other than L&S. We’re here to help you find the best “academic home” for you.

How do I know who my assigned advisor is?

You can find information about your assigned advisor in the Academic Navigator app in your MyUW portal. While all CCAS students are assigned a specific advisor, all CCAS staff work to support all of our assigned students.

How do I get advising?

Advising is available through either scheduled appointments, or drop-ins. All advising will be held virtually for the spring 2021 semester.

Drop-in advising is available Monday-Thursday from 12:30-4:30pm, and Fridays from 12:30-2:30pm, starting January 25.  See more information HERE for accessing virtual drop-ins.

All CCAS advisors continue to offer virtual advising appointments via phone or Zoom. You can find more information HERE on how to schedule an appointment.

Should I attend drop-ins or schedule an appointment?

It depends on your question and the kind of answer you’re looking for. If you have a simple or quick question, and/or a question for which you want an experienced student’s perspective, you’ll want to drop-in with one of our peer advisors. There are no appointments needed for drop-ins and you can meet with a peer advisor in real time.

If you know  that you want to have a conversation about the big picture, choosing a major/career, a question about the rules or policies of the university or want to connect with your assigned advisor, make an appointment to see one of our professional advisors.

What if I need to change my enrollment now?

If you need to add, drop, or swap a course, or make any other changes to your schedule, you can do that on your own; we always recommend speaking with an advisor before dropping a course or making significant changes to your schedule. Questions about this can be addressed in drop-in advising, or by meeting with your advisor.

If you are interested in dropping a course and adding another, we strongly encourage you to swap the courses. Using the swap function will ensure you do not a drop a course before being enrolled in another one.

You can go here to get step-by-step instructions on several enrollment options:

When should I see my advisor again?

You can see your advisor as often or as seldom as you want. We recommend seeing your advisor at least once a semester before you enroll in courses for summer or fall semester.

Help! I'm still on a waitlist!

Take a deep breath – we know this can feel stressful. The most important thing is to make sure that you have a schedule that works if you don’t get off the waitlist. Also make sure you are checking your email daily – if you get admitted off the waitlist, you will have a limited amount of time to enroll in the course.

Feel free to talk to an advisor about your next steps. Attending drop-in advising, or scheduling an appointment can be a good way to get advice. And know that if you do not get into the course this semester, there is a good chance you can take it in the future!

How long can I make changes to my spring courses?

There are a few important deadlines to be aware of, regarding making changes to your spring enrollment.

The deadline to add a course for the spring semester is February 5; after that point you would need instructor or academic dean permission to add a new course.

There are two deadlines related to dropping courses: the first drop deadline is February 3. Until then you can drop any class you want and the dropped course will not be listed on your transcript.

The final drop deadline is March 26, courses cannot be dropped for fall semester without dean’s approval. Courses dropped between February 3 and March 26 will be dropped from your enrollment, but stay on your transcript with a “DR” notation, indicating that you dropped the course. In general, having this notation on your transcript is not something to be concerned about.

We encourage you to talk to an advisor about any feelings or doubts you have about changes or their consequences.

When do I enroll in courses for next fall?

Enrolling for fall 2021 courses is planned for early April. We encourage you to start planning and talking with your advisor about your fall plans in early March.

Should I take summer classes?

There are many classes offered in UW’s summer term. Taking courses over summer term is not required, and generally students are able to graduate in 4 years without needing to take summer courses.

Summer courses can be a good choice for many students, for a variety of reasons. We encourage you to talk with your advisor in February or March if you are interested in taking summer courses.

When do I need to declare a major?

The official deadline to declare a major is when you reach 86 credits (in the College of Letters & Sciences). Many students decide on a major before then; students often declare between their third and fifth semester.

There is a great deal of variation in what timeline works best depending on the majors you are exploring. Again, advisors can help you understand how your specific field of major exploration informs when it’s best to declare a major.

How do I pick the right major?

Whether you have lots of ideas for majors or no ideas at all, the Career Exploration Center (CEC) is a good first destination to help you figure out which majors might be the best fit for you.

Start your major exploration here!

How do I choose my major if I don’t know what I want my career to be?

No matter what major(s) you are considering, there are likely many different career options that are available to you! If you are interested in starting to think about how your major might connect to future careers, the Career Exploration Center (CEC) is a good place to start.

Learn more about scheduling a virtual appointment with the CEC!

I want to start exploring future career opportunities. Where do I start?

Not sure what career direction you want to take? The Career Exploration Center (CEC) can help you kick-off the exploration process.

Have some career ideas and want more information? Check out the Career Communities at Successworks!

Campus Resources here for you!

UW-Madison is home to many student-focused offices, all available for you to utilize in your time as a student.

Offices that help create community around part of your identity, tutoring and help with study skills, to offices designed to help you on your unique academic path.

Browse below to explore, and decide which office YOU want to learn more about!