New Student Advising FAQs

New Seattle Pacific University students at orientation
This FAQ guide includes answers to some of the most common questions we receive about New Student Advising. Don't see what you need? Don't hesitate to ask. Questions are always welcome! Contact us: or 206-281-2575.

How do I access the New Student Advising Survey?

Beginning April 1, the NSA Survey will be available directly from the NSA Website and also through your SPU Portal

What kinds of questions will the New Student Advising Survey ask me?

The New Student Advising Survey helps us better understand your academic goals, interests, and scheduling preferences. We’ll ask you questions about any transferable coursework you may have completed, about the major or area(s) of study you’re most interested in, and about the kinds of elective classes you may prefer to take. We’ll also give you the opportunity to share personal details that might impact the kinds (or timing) of the classes you’ll take. We recommend that students give themselves at least 30 minutes to complete the survey.

If I haven't completed all requirements, should I still sign up and complete the survey?

Yes, please! While those requirements will still need to be completed in order for us to register you, submitting the survey helps begin the process. It also will provide guidance on whether the placement tests or official transcript requirements apply to you.

What are placement tests and how do I know if I need to take them?

Depending on what you want to study, we may ask you to complete a placement test in a certain subject to help us determine which specific class fits you best. The NSA Survey will provide guidance on any placement tests that may be required. Your score on a placement test won’t hurt you in any way, it just helps us recommend the best possible combination of classes for your first quarter. Placement tests (available in calculus, general math, chemistry, languages, and music) are located in Canvas

Generally speaking, students in STEM majors (biology, engineering, computer science, etc.) are asked to take at least one placement test (typically chemistry, calculus, and/or math, depending on major) unless equivalent coursework is being transferred. For example, if you're planning to study biology and will be transferring in a general chemistry class, you may not need to take the chemistry placement test. 

Placement Test Guide by Major

Chemistry Placement Test: majors in biology and chemistry, including those students who are interested in pre-med, pre-dental, etc. 

Math and Calculus Placement Tests: majors in math, chemistry, engineering, computer science, and physics

Music Placement Test: majors in Music

I'm majoring in math/chemistry/engineering/computer science/physics. Why do I have to take both the Math Placement Test and the Calculus Placement Test?

Students in any of the above majors are generally required to take a math class in their first quarter. Your score on the Calculus Placement Test tells us whether you're ready to jump right into your major's required calculus sequence. If your Calculus Placement Test score tells us you'd be best served by starting out with precalculus, we'll need you to take the Math Placement Test to tell us whether precalculus or another preparatory math class is the best fit for your first quarter. Our goal is to make sure we get you registered for the most appropriate math class so you're set up for success in your chosen major. 

Should I wait to send transcripts?

Your official transcripts are very important to the NSA process because they allow us to formally transfer credit and help best ensure we don't register you for classes you've already taken. Ideally you would provide us with an official transcript from all colleges attended prior to your NSA, then follow up with a final transcript once all in-progress courses are completed.

What if I don't want to send transcripts?

A condition of your admission is to provide transcripts for any and all college-level work you've completed. In almost all cases, those transcripts will help you towards completing degree requirements at SPU.

What are official transcripts?

To be considered official, a transcript or score report must arrive at SPU in its original sealed envelope. It can be dropped off or mailed, but it must be unopened. Transcripts must come from the school or agency granting credit. This means we cannot transfer college-level credit from a high school transcript, so if you've completed Running Start or College in the High School credits you'll need to request a transcript directly from the college providing credit. Digital transcripts are accepted when sent securely and directly to SPU from the school or agency granting credit.

Where should my transcripts be sent?

Newly admitted or prospective students should submit official transcripts of all previously completed coursework to the Admissions Office. Official transcripts can be mailed to:


Seattle Pacific University

3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 115

Seattle, Washington 98119-1922 

What happens during a one-on-one meeting with a Faculty Advisor or Academic Counselor?

You’ll talk with an expert advisor via Zoom to select and register for your first-quarter class schedule. You’ll review any transfer coursework that’s been applied to your academic record at SPU, discuss your major/intended area of study, and review different online tools that will help you determine what classes to take. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask questions before you and an advisor walk through the registration process together and register for your first-quarter class schedule.

Should my parents or other support people participate in my New Student Advising experience?

Some students like to have a support person on hand while they’re filling out their NSA Survey or during advising conversations, while others benefit from a bit of independence. You'll know what fits you best. Unlike family events (Preview, Orientation), NSA focuses on getting you advised, registered for your first-quarter classes, and prepared for your first term at SPU. However, parents or other support people are most welcome.

What happens if I'm not able to meet this summer for a NSA appointment? How will I register for classes?

Your Acaademic Counselor will use the information you provide in your NSA Survey to select and register you for your first-quarter class schedule. You'll receive a confirmation email from your Academic Counselor once the process is complete. This registration method (referred to as Direct Registration) is only available to students for whom scheduling an advising appointment would present a hardship. You will have the opportunity to indicate your need for this format in the NSA Survey.  

What if I want to change my major?

That's just fine! If you have not yet registered for your first-quarter class schedule, let us know so we can update your file and ensure we're best prepared for your NSA appointment ( or 206-281-2575). If you've already registered, contact your Academic Counselor directly to make updates.

Is this how I’ll register for classes every quarter?

The New Student Advising process is meant just for first-year and transfer students during their first quarter at SPU. In subsequent quarters, you’ll register for classes on your own after discussing class schedule options with an expert advisor in your area of study. At SPU, we register for one quarter’s worth of classes at a time and make sure there are lots of advising tools and resources available to help students decide what classes to take each quarter.