The SoE Hub FAQs and Forms

The following FAQ is to guide students in their first year at Rensselaer.

After your first year, it is not recommended to utilize this advice; it may be inaccurate to your needs and may cause problems for your degree completion. You should refer to your faculty advisor for all academic, scheduling and registration questions or concerns. Find contact information for all faculty and staff by typing their names on the Search Bar in the RPI Directory.


Academic Advising during a Pandemic

For the safety of student and staff, there will be no in-person meetings.

While The Hub’s office on the 3rd floor of the JEC is closed with no immediate plans to reopen, our advisors are still completely accessible to the Rensselaer community.

What’s different?

All meetings will be hosted through WebEx, a video conferencing platform provided through Rensselaer. Your SoE Hub Team will also be creating new resources and support systems to manage learning in a pandemic world. Visit The Hidden Curriculum for online resources, and pay close attention to all emails from your SoE Hub Advisor.

What’s the same?

Everything else! The SoE Hub is holding the same weekday office hours as always, and you are still able to use our online booking portal to make meetings based around your schedule. There will still be a 4-Year Plan and SAM Meeting requirement in Spring semester to ensure you are on track. And, of course, you will still have easy access to your team of experienced and caring advisors in the SoE Hub!

There are many challenges that come with learning during a pandemic. Come to your advisor for support with online learning, organizing your week to prioritize your studies while still taking care of yourself and your mental health, staying connected to campus, and any other challenges that arise during this time.

Do not hesitate to ask for help!


What does the SoE Hub do?

The Hub advises Engineering students during their first year at Rensselaer.

We will guide you through registration, help you understand requirements for degree completion, and discuss adding or changing majors and/or minors. Each student is assigned to a Hub Advisor based upon their major, and is able to access their advisor for support through appointments and walk-ins, or by phone and email.

Your SoE Hub Advisor will prepare you for the transition to your faculty advisor after your first year at Rensselaer. We will ensure you are comfortable with the tools that you will need for course planning and success through The Hidden Curriculum, and work with you to develop a 4-Year Plan.
Your faculty advisor will support you by focusing on your specific academic interests/concentration and is a more suitable resource to advise you on career and graduate school goals.


When is the SoE Hub open? And where is it?

Office Hours: Weekdays, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. EST.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all SoE Hub Advisors will be readily available through video chat. We will not host any in-person meetings at this time.


How do I find out who my Hub Advisor is?

Your Hub Advisor has been assigned to you based on your major. Find your advisor below!

Be sure to look for your class year and major, as advisors will change based on your cohort.

  • Marie Dieffenbach | dieffm@rpi.edu
    2024: Aeronautical, Nuclear Engineering
     
  • Karen Lewis | phelak@rpi.edu
    2024: Civil, Environmental, and Mechanical Engineering
     
  • Valerie Swenson | swensv@rpi.edu
    2024: Biomedical, Chemical, and Industrial and Management Engineering
     
  • Kristin Bergene | bergek@rpi.edu
    2024: Undeclared Engineering (ENGR)
     
  • Cara Leath | (518) 276-6669 | natalc2@rpi.edu
    2024: Electrical, and Computer, and Systems, and Materials Engineering

Where do I find Registrar Forms? How do I fill them out? How do I get my Advisor's signature?

You can always find the most updated Registrar forms on their website.

In this remote environment, you should be able to fill out forms online. If you have trouble with the Adobe “fillable” forms, please print out the form, fill it out completely/correctly, and scan the document to be emailed. If you do not have access to a scanner, you can download the free “Adobe Scan” app from your app store. This app will allow you to scan any document and email it from your phone as a PDF.

For support filling out any Registrar Form, please use this resource: Registrar Forms YouTube Playlist

Once you correctly fill out forms and collect appropriate signatures, you should email to your SoE Hub Advisor and the Registrar’s Office: registrar@rpi.edu

There are only a few forms that required your Advisor's signature.
They are:

  • Authorization Form: if you are looking to “Credit Overload” only
  • Minor Approval Form
  • Pass/No Credit Request Form
  • Transfer Credit Approval Form

Am I required to meet with my advisor to register for courses? And, when should I do this?

Yes! Once each year, during the spring semester, you are required to meet with your academic advisor to discuss your course planning.

This is called the Student-Advisor Meeting (SAM). Until you meet with your advisor, you will have a SAM Hold on your account. This hold will prevent you from registering for courses. To remove your SAM Hold, your advisor must approve of the courses that you are planning to take next semester and/or your 4-Year Plan.

Remember, the SAM hold will occur in the spring semester, meaning you won’t be able to register for your fall semester classes without having the SAM hold removed by your advisor!

As a first year student you will meet with your SoE Hub Advisor. After that, you must meet with your faculty advisor.

Pro-Tip: Remember, each advisor has hundreds of advisees! Around registration, Consultation Month included, it will be harder to make an appointment. Make your SAM appointment early, even weeks ahead of time, or email your advisor about your course planning. Do not wait until the last minute to reach out, as it's likely that you will not find a free appointment time. Read all emails from your SoE Hub Advisor for additional support during this busy time.


"It's registration time, I haven't met with my Advisor, I have a SAM Hold, and can't make an appointment. What do I do?"

Registration time is notoriously busy. It is always best to make appointments weeks in advance.

What is a SAM Hold? 

Once per year, you have a mandatory meeting with your advisor, called a Student-Advisor Meeting. This will be in the spring semester. Until you schedule and attend this appointment with your advisor, you will have a hold and be unable to register for courses.

What can you do right now?

  1. Email the list of courses you plan to register for to your advisor. They can review and provide feedback digitally. During registration, allow your advisor at least 2-3 days to respond, as it will be hard for them to check their email during normal work hours.

What is the best way to make an appointment with my advisor? And how do I prepare for an appointment?

To make an appointment, visit our appointment portal. Select your Hub Advisor, and pay close attention to the date and time you have made your appointment. You should add the day/time to your personal calendar.

How can you prepare? Ask yourself, why are you making an appointment?

  • Select courses you are planning to take next semester.
  • Develop your 4-Year Plan.
  • Use the transfer course guide on SIS to find summer courses.

How do you access the video chat (WebEx) for your meeting?

Your appointment confirmation email from OnceHub will include a link to your SoE Hub Advisor’s WebEx room. You do not need to click that link until the moment your meeting begins. Your advisor will let you in the room once they are ready to begin.
If you do not see a link in your confirmation email, reach out to your SoE Hub Advisor. They will be happy to help! See all contact information above.


Can I just stop by to see my advisor?

At the moment, there are no in-person options to meeting with your advisor. However, some SoE Hub Advisors are hosting virtual “Walk-In” hours. Reach out to your advisor to see if they have blocked any time during the week for “Walk-Ins”.


How can I track my degree progress?

DegreeWorks allows you to track your degree progress. You can access DegreeWorks through your Student Menu on SIS.
If you are still learning how to use DegreeWorks, check out:

If you have questions about your DegreeWorks profile, reach out to: degreeworks@rpi.edu

 


How do I change my major or add/declare a minor/dual?

To make any changes, you should first develop a 4-Year Plan with the support of your advisor. You may find that you will need to stay for an additional semester(s), or even find that you would now be ahead of schedule. By doing this with your advisor, we can ensure that you are looking at all program requirements.

Next, you will need to fill out the Registrar's “Change of Major” form.

Once you complete the form, please email it to your SoE Hub Advisor and they will start the process of officially changing your major.


I want to transfer credits from another college. What is the process for this? Is it different for summer courses?

Good news! The process for transferring credit to Rensselaer is the same, regardless of whether you are taking courses during the spring/fall semester or over the summer. However, please note that in addition to whether a specific course is approved for transfer, there are several restrictions on transferring in courses to RPI such as limits on overall transfer and AP credits allowed, the length of time a course must be in order to be transferrable, and how many courses are transferrable to the Math/Science core.

See the back of the Transfer Approval Form found here for details.

How does it work?

Step 1) Check the Transfer Course Guide on SIS to see what other colleges and courses have already been approved to transfer into Rensselaer.
If you find a course and/or university that is pre-approved and you are interested in, then...

  • Step 2) Register for that course through their university as a non-matriculated student.
  • Step 3) Fill out a “Transfer Approval Form” and email it to your SoE Hub Advisor.

If you do not find the course and/or university that you are interested in, then...

  • Step 2) Approach the university that has the course you are interested in and request a syllabus for that course. You may have to reach out to their faculty, Registrar, or Department Chair for the syllabus.
  • Step 3) Email the syllabus to the Transfer Credit Evaluator here at Rensselaer of the department where you want the credit to come in, (i.e., The School of Science for Physics). They will review the syllabus to see if that course can be transferred. There is more information here: https://info.rpi.edu/registrar/academic-planning/#TransferCreditCurrentlyEnrolledStudents
  • Step 4) If they accept the course, you will fill out a “Transfer Approval Form” and get the Rensselaer Transfer Credit Evaluator to sign the form.
  • Step 5) You will then email the “Transfer Credit Approval Form” to your SoE Hub Advisor.

For more information visit: The Office of the Registrar - Registration

 


I'm a parent and would like to know about my child's grades, class attendance, or another issue. Will an advisor talk with me?

By law, college professionals are restricted on what they can communicate to parents without the consent of their student.
You may find more information here:

However, you are always welcome to reach out to your student's advisor and we will support you to the best of our ability.