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Advising & Registration

Each entering new student is assigned an academic adviser to help you plan a course program until you formally declare a major—at which point you will either choose a major adviser, or be assigned a particular adviser depending upon the major of your choice. All advisers are faculty members who are familiar with the Smith curriculum and are interested in helping you plan a program that both reflects your interests and introduces you to new challenges and unfamiliar fields of study.

Dates & Details for Fall 2023 Advising

For All New Students

Before you arrive on campus for Orientation in September, your adviser will contact you remotely (by email or phone) to arrange for an initial Zoom “meet and greet,” during which time you will discuss academic your goals and interests. Your adviser will also help you prepare for your online registration when you arrive. Announcements about your adviser will come to you via email through the class deans office closer to the end of our summer, typically around the week of August 7.

New students may register for courses only after meeting with their adviser. Registration for new students will be announced on the registrar’s website, and happens after the orientation period, and before classes begin (Thursday, September 7).

Liberal Arts Advising

Liberal Arts Adviser

The liberal arts advising process is often abbreviated as LAA. Your liberal arts adviser is assigned by your class dean and will be your primary resource for academic advice. Prior to, and during Orientation, your adviser will meet with you individually to talk about your goals and to help you prepare for your online registration for courses.

Liberal arts advisers are members of the faculty who have been assigned to work with incoming students and explain the college’s resources. Their role is to advise and guide you during your first two years at Smith. They can help you assess your skills in those areas the faculty considers basic to college study so that you can make full use of the courses and programs here. They will help you select courses based on your expressed needs and interests and authorize your course selection.

Liberal arts advisers can offer advice on courses in their own departments and suggest references for you in other departments. They can guide you in placing you in appropriate levels of courses and know of resources for other assistance, both academic and personal. Additionally, they may offer their own vision of a liberal arts program.

Class Dean

Your first-year class dean assists you with academic progress during your first year and works closely with academic advisers to ensure that you are progressing appropriately. Ada Comstock and transfer students are assigned advisers in their intended major fields. The class dean is responsible for your overall academic program. Each entering student class will meet with their respective dean during Orientation. You are encouraged to see your dean privately throughout the year regarding any issue, whether academic or personal. Your class dean is available to assist with course registration, academic options and general advice on such matters as study abroad, summer school and leaves of absence.

Student Academic Adviser

Student academic advisers (SAAs) are returning students who work with the class dean and faculty advisers to help you choose courses and register. They also work in the houses to help all students understand the Honor Code, the curriculum and how academic regulations work. SAAs can also help first-years with informal academic advising throughout the year. They will remind you about procedures and deadlines, and may direct you to appropriate sources and point out specific courses you might have overlooked. Your SAAs are a great first stop in-house resource for your advising questions.

Important Links

Writing Intensive Requirement

Each first-year student is required to complete at least one Writing Intensive (WI) course during their first or second semester.

Young woman writing at a desk

Students with Disabilities

Students requiring academic accommodations due to a documented disability should contact the Office of Disability Services.

Sign language

Our Approach to Learning

With no core classes apart from a writing intensive course in your first year, your academic journey is yours to chart from start to finish.

Smith College Painting Class

Advanced Placement & Placement Exams

Students who receive a score of 4 or 5 on most Advanced Placement examinations will be notified by the registrar’s office regarding the credits recorded and ways they can be used. These scores can be used to aid you and your liberal arts adviser in placing you at a course level appropriate to your background. The registrar’s office also evaluates International Baccalaureate, A-levels and college credit earned before matriculation at Smith. For further details, please visit the registrar’s website.

There is no placement examination in art history.

Portfolio Reviews - Remote Review Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Those interested in the August 29 portfolio review for possible exemption from ARS163 Drawing I should contact Eva Weber, to make a 10 minute appointment. Please express your preference for a morning (9:30-10:30 a.m. EDT) or afternoon (4-5 p.m. EDT) time slot. Students should prepare a diverse sampling of 12-15 pieces. Directions for uploading images via Google form will be sent along with a confirmed time and a Zoom link. We will make an informed evaluation; however this should be seen as primarily a friendly advising session. Very few exceptions from Drawing I are given, and we recommend students with all levels of experience take the course.

Students with AP or IB credit in biology should discuss their options, including the possibility of opting out of BIO 130 or 132 with Professor Virginia Hayssen at, or Professor Michael Barresi at

For returning students who have already declared a biology major, please consult with your biology adviser.

Complete online exam as soon as possible

All students planning to take Chemistry should complete the online placement exam. For students who scored a 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam, or who have a similarly strong preparation in chemistry (IB experience, etc.), we recommend taking CHM 118/118L in the Fall. Students with strong preparation also have the option of placing directly into CHM 222 in the Spring but should consult a member of the department before choosing this path.

Placement tests for Japanese, Chinese and Korean: A written test and brief oral interview are mandatory for all entering students who have had some informal or formal training in any of these languages before coming to Smith.

Chinese: Complete online exam by 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 22, 2022.

The online placement exam for Chinese has three parts, which can be completed at different times: a multiple-choice exam, a short essay, and a brief virtual oral interview.

Questions about the Chinese placement exam should be sent to

Japanese: Complete online exam by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 15, 2022
                  Interviews will be held August 17-23, 2022

Korean: Complete online exam by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 15, 2022
              Interviews will be held August 17-23, 2022

The Korean Language Placement Test consists of four parts. Please complete Parts I, II, and III by August 15. Your oral interview will be scheduled August 17-23. If you have questions about your Korean placement test, please send an email to


Complete online exam before Sunday, August 20, 2023

The Department of Economics offers two online Placement Examinations to determine whether it is appropriate for entering students who have taken one or more economics courses before entering college to place out of Introductory Microeconomics, Introductory Macroeconomics, or both. In order to be prepared for fall registration, the exam(s) should be completed before August 20.

Students who have been given AP, IB or A-level credit for microeconomics and/or macroeconomics on their transcripts do not need to take the Placement Examinations in order to place out of the introductory course(s). However, we strongly recommend that those students still take the appropriate placement examinations to ensure that their pre-college courses have adequately prepared them to move immediately beyond the introductory level. Click on the link below for detailed instructions.

Complete online exam by Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The Department of French Studies offers an online placement examination to test students' proficiency in understanding spoken French as well as in reading and writing. The online placement examination is accessible on Moodle.

Students who have taken at least one year of French should take this exam. Students who have taken the ETS Achievement and/or Advanced Placement tests will find among the materials provided to their advisers recommended placement in language or literature courses based on their scores.

*Even if you have taken these tests, we encourage all students to take our placement test, as it will help the department to advise students about course selection. Click on the link below for detailed instructions.

Complete online exam before 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Department of German Studies offers an online placement examination to determine an appropriate German course for entering students. The online placement examination is accessible on Moodle.

This test is open to all students who have had any preparatory training in the language. Students who took the German AP exam need to take the placement as well, no matter what their AP score.

Students should follow instructions carefully for each examination. At least one hour should be allowed for each examination. Placement tests at Smith College are conducted under the academic honor system. It is understood that these examinations will not be discussed in any way, even among students who have already taken them, until the close of the testing period.

Students who have studied Hebrew prior to coming to Smith should contact Joanna Caravita for advice on placement in the correct course level. Students with no previous knowledge of Hebrew may enroll in JUD 101, Elementary Modern Hebrew I.

Complete online exam before 5 p.m. on Monday, August 21, 2023

This test is open to all students who have had preparatory training in the language. Students who took the Italian AP exam need to take the placement as well, no matter what their AP score. To take the exam after the deadline contact our Langugae Coordinator: Maria Succi-Hempstead

The Classics Department does not have a designated placement exam for Latin. We urge you to chat with members of the Department during Orientation, who will help you determine what course would be most suitable for you.

The Math department does not have a designated placement test for math and statistics courses. Descriptions of common starting courses, advice on how to decide between them and information about AP and IB credit is available on the Introductory Mathematics Courses website and on the document below.


Complete online exam before 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, September 7, 2023

Incoming students considering Music 110 should take the music theory placement test. Please note that incoming students cannot register for Music 110 without taking this test. It will assess familiarity with key and time signatures, standard pitch and rhythmic notation, and intervals. The online placement exam is available on Moodle.

Placement auditions for instrument or voice lessons are held during orientation and the first days of the semester. Information will be posted later in the summer regarding auditions.


Students with a 4 or 5 on the AP Physics C mechanics exam are eligible to place out of PHY 117 Introductory Physics I. Students with a 4 or 5 on the AP Physics C electricity and magnetism exam are eligible to place out of PHY 118 Introductory Physics II. Students with a 5, 6, or 7 on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level Exam or a score of A or B on the International Cambridge A-level exam are strongly encouraged to take PHY 119 Advanced Introductory Physics, which replaces both PHY 117 and PHY 118 for the physics major and also satisfies the PHY 117 requirement for Engineering. Students coming into Smith who have successfully completed a year or more of AP high school physics or equivalent but have not taken the AP, IB, or Cambridge exam should choose between PHY 117 or PHY 119 following a consultation with the instructors of PHY 117 and/or PHY 119. Members of the department are happy to discuss your particular situation further; students are encouraged to stop by with their questions during Conversations.

Students who have studied Russian before coming to Smith College should contact Ilona Sotnikova ( for advice on placement in the correct Russian language course. Students with no prior experience studying Russian may enroll in RES 100Y, Elementary Russian.

Complete online exam by August 20, 2023 at 11:59pm EDT

An online placement examination to test the student's command of the language. All students who have had previous training in the language or have lived in a Spanish-speaking country and wish to continue the study of Spanish language and literature are required to take it.

Contact Office of the Class Deans

College Hall 101

Smith College

Northampton, MA 01063