Echols Scholars often have good ideas of their own for course choice each semester and for the long-range coherence of their program of study. Nevertheless, University faculty understand that freedom can be daunting to students coming directly from secondary schools, where so much is planned and scheduled for students.
First-year Echols Scholars first meet their faculty advisor during the first week of classes at the end of August. After that, advising occurs in November and April during the pre-registration process for the spring and fall terms, respectively. However, advisors all hold regular office hours during the semester and encourage Scholars to stop by even if there is no immediate reason to see a professor. It’s not uncommon for Echols Scholars to see their advisor regularly throughout the semester. If the advisor can’t answer a question, he or she can refer the Scholar to a colleague who can.
The assigned faculty advisor is not the only resource for information, although he or she is a crucial one. The Association Dean for Echols Scholars, currently Dr. Sarah Cole, holds daily office hours to attend to student questions. Individual course professors and Directors of Undergraduate Programs within the various Departments, Interdisciplinary Majors, and Distinguished Major Programs are also useful sources of knowledge. Additionally, the Echols Council hosts a student-to-student mentoring program for incoming first-year Echols Scholars. The mission of Echols Peer Mentoring program is to provide first year scholars with a wide range of insights from older peers to help them quickly adjust to college life and excel at the University of Virginia.