Merrill College Advising Guide for Families

Merrill College advisors provide general advising on any academic topic a student cares to discuss: on a daily sign­up basis, and by appointment. Advisors are available every weekday and students can call (831) 459­ - 2144 to make an appointment. They can also email to ask a quick advising question.

Student Privacy

You have probably heard that the university is very limited in what information we can share with you about your student. Sharing information about your student’s academic record is restricted by the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).We are always available to speak generally with concerned parties about university and college requirements and policies, academic standing, and campus resources. We hope that you’ll share your questions and discoveries with your student, and encourage them to talk to us if they want to learn more.

Online Advising

The campus has a number of online advising resources. Students, parents, and other interested parties may find answers to their questions using the following sites:

Enrolling in Classes

Continuing students are assigned an “enrollment appointment” to enroll in their classes for the following quarter. The enrollment priority is set, within each class level (soph, junior, senior), based on the number of earned credits, with the earliest priority assigned to students with the most credits earned. Enrollment appointments are randomly assigned with the frosh level (<45 credits). The enrollment appointment is the day and time at which the student can (and should) begin enrolling through their portal:  If students need help selecting classes, they are encouraged to contact the advising office to schedule an appointment or attend our course selection events held each quarter to help students make their course selections. Selection of classes will become easier as the student gains seniority by earning more credits, and learns more about the majors and their requirements.

Choosing a Major

Though some students enter UCSC with a strong idea of what they’d like to major in, many students are confused when confronted with so many possibilities. We encourage these students to talk to family and friends, advisors, faculty, and anyone else who will listen! We also have a great resource on campus: The Career Center.

The Career Center

At the Career Center (centrally located at the Bay Tree Bookstore Plaza), students can seek on­ and off­campus employment, peruse a library of career and graduate school information, and speak one­on­one with Career Center Counselors. The Career Center also provides an internship database and the Career Advice Network, an online database of UCSC alumni, faculty, and staff who have provided information about their academic degrees and careers. Want to see what your student might do with an Art degree? Check it out:

Social Opportunities and Academic Enrichment

Students often find their academic lives more fulfilling when they take advantage of the many extra­curricular opportunities at the College and on campus. Participating in college events and joining student groups is a great way to meet like­minded peers and discover the wealth of educational opportunities on campus. Student Organization Advising and Resources (SOAR) is a great place to start. There’s also the Office of Student Life, a cluster of student support services. For students who prefer athletics, OPERS (the Office of Physical Recreation and Sports) is not just a pretty place—though the facilities boast a stunning view of the city and the Monterey Bay. OPERS coordinates competitive and intramural sports, PE classes (including sailing at the harbor, scuba training and trips, and holistic health classes), and the Wilderness Orientation Program. Students can sign up for intramural sports as part of a team, or as an individual looking for a team. 

How can you help your student succeed?

We know that family and friends are a huge influence in students’ lives. To that end, here’s a short, basic timeline of what students might be thinking about (and needing to talk about with you) during their years at UCSC.

First (Frosh) Year:

  • Finding a major
  • Meeting with advisors in the college and department (if applicable)
  • Figuring out degree requirements
  • Taking GEs
  • Looking into academic support services
  • Forming study groups with peers
  • Thinking about the Education Abroad Program (EAP)

Second (Sophomore) Year:

  • Declaring a major and creating a long­term course plan
  • Deciding about and applying to EAP
  • Meeting with a department advisor
  • Meeting with faculty during office hours
  • Thinking about possible career paths and/or graduate school plans

Third (Junior) Year:

  • Finalizing major plans
  • Meeting with a college advisor to check on progress with graduation requirements
  • Going to the Career Center to explore internship opportunities, graduate schools, and career plans
  • Talking to faculty about research opportunities and post­graduate plans

Fourth (Senior) Year:

  • Pursuing internships and/or independent study/research with faculty
  • Preparing graduate school applications and finalizing faculty recommendation letters
  • Seeing department and college advisors to check that all graduation requirements will be met
  • Applying for graduation in graduating quarter and signing up for graduation ceremony