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Advising FAQ

These are just a few of the questions many students have about Advising at Boise State.

Take just a few minutes to read over these carefully, they might answer some of your most valuable questions!

Why should I see an advisor?

  • Our department advisor can help you to choose appropriate courses to take. Many biology courses have prerequisites, and it is important to get started on those courses early. Certain courses may be most appropriate for a person interested in a particular field.
  • Our department advisor can help a transfer student determine which courses from the previous institution count towards a degree at Boise State.
  • Our department advisor can help you with academic adjustments/appeals, checking graduation requirements, academic probation/dismissal, understanding university policies, locating a faculty member, and finding university resources.
  • Our department advisor and our faculty advisors can help you find internships. Internships are an important way to learn new skills. Internships are also important in helping you to know whether or not you really want to  pursue a particular career path. Although an advisor can provide suggestions as to possible internship opportunities, it is important to realize that it is the student’s responsibility to actually go out, make the contact, and arrange the internship experience. Your advisor can then help you to sign up so that you can receive college credit for your internship experience.
  • Faculty advisors can help with preparation of applications for professional school and graduate school. Such applications are much more complex than applications to attend as an undergraduate, and an advisor can help you to navigate that complexity.
  • Faculty advisors often help by writing letters of reference for jobs, for applications, for academic appeals, etc. However, don’t expect an advisor to write a letter of any substance unless you’ve invested the time to let your advisor get to know you: your ambitions, your qualifications, your history, etc.

Who should I see for advising?

Book an appointment with the department advisor; Clay Cox. Make your appointment at  Advising questions can be directed to Please include your student ID# with your email.  You may call 426-3262 to make an appointment.

We encourage all biology majors to make connections with a faculty advisor for graduate school and career discussions.  Begin by going to the faculty web page to see the interests of our faculty members or see the list at the bottom of this page. It is often helpful to choose someone with interests similar to yours.  Alternatively, you may think that one of your teachers would make a good advisor. If you have a particular career path in mind or if you don’t really know what areas of biology interest you, you are welcome to contact Clay Cox to help you locate a faculty advisor.

If you are undecided as to your area of interest, meet with one of the advisors listed in the “undecided” section or talk to your biology instructor or to other students. Our department advisor can help you with many issues, including locating the appropriate faculty advisor.
If you are looking at a pre-professional degree, such as pre-med, pre-vet, pre-dent, in addition to meeting with a biology advisor, you will also want to meet with one of Boise State’s pre-professional advisors, Glenda Hill ( or Erin Colburn (

Why do I have an advising hold on my account?

If you are a new student (freshman or transfer), you will have an advising hold on your BroncoWeb account.  This hold will prevent you from signing up for classes until you meet with an advisor. You should make an individual appointment as soon as you see the “Required Advising Hold” appear on your student center. Advising holds are placed for a few other reasons – contact your advisor as soon as you see the hold appear.

When should I see my advisor?

It is very important to see an advisor as early in your college career as possible. Students who wait often don’t take key courses, and therefore end up delaying their progress towards a biology degree. It is a good idea to meet with your advisor every semester to get help with selecting courses for the next semester. Don’t wait until the last minute before your registration appointment to seek out your advisor; he/she may not be able to see you promptly and then either you’d need to register without the advice of your advisor or you’d need to delay your registration until later, potentially missing out on open courses.

How do I contact the Departmental Advisor?

The best way to set up an appointment with Clay Cox is online at Advising questions or concerns can be directed to Please include your student ID# with your email. You may call 426-3262 to schedule an appointment. Walk-in advising (without an appointment) is available, please check with the front desk for specific days and times.


Where do I meet with my advisor?

If you are meeting with the department advisor, Clay Cox, his office is located in the Science Building (SCNC) Room 107A – Right next to the Department of Biological Sciences main office.

If you are meeting with a faculty advisor you would typically meet in your advisor’s office. You can get office numbers from the faculty website.  If you have your advisor as an instructor for a semester, after a lab period is often a good time to seek a bit of advice.

What should I bring to my advising appointment?

If you are a transfer student, make sure you bring transcripts from your previous institutions and the external credit report that Boise State University has sent you. Whether you’re a transfer student or not, bring any checklists that you have and bring a tentative list of courses that you think you should take. It may also be helpful to write down the questions you have, so that you cover all of the topics you need to.