New Student Advising FAQs

New Seattle Pacific University students at orientation
This page includes many of the common questions we receive about the New Student Advising (NSA process).  Don't find what you need?  Don't hesitate to ask.  Questions are always welcome!  Contact us:, or 206-281-2575.

Which New Student Advising (NSA) option should I choose?

While we do provide some guidance on the main NSA Website, the decision is yours! If you're unsure, we'd be happy to talk through the options with you ( or 206-281-2575).

If I haven't completed all requirements, should I still sign up?

Yes, please! While those requirements are still important, signing up now allows us to begin preparing for you and to help guide you through your next steps.

What is the Academic Tutorial in Canvas?

The Academic Tutorial, which you’ll access through SPU’s Canvas online learning environment, introduces you to the different requirements you’ll need to fulfill in order to complete a degree at SPU. It will also introduce you to some of the online resources you’ll use to track your academic progress. Understanding the framework of an SPU degree will help you understand why you’re taking specific classes during your first quarter.

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. 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, where you’ll also find a list of which majors require which placement tests.

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.

If I choose Direct Registration, can I still speak with an advisor?

Yes! Students who choose Direct Registration will receive a confirmation email from their Academic Counselor once they’ve been registered for their first-quarter class schedule. You can simply reply to that message with any questions or changes for your schedule. You should also feel welcome to contact us at any time regardless of which NSA option you choose ( or 206-281-2575).

What kinds of questions will the Direct Registration Survey ask me?

The Direct Registration 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.

How do I receive the Direct Registration Survey?

For students who sign up for the Direct Registration NSA format prior to April 1, you will receive a link to the Direct Registration Survey by email on or around April 1. For those students who sign up after April 1, the survey link will be provided directly in your sign-up confirmation email. This split happens because next year's catalog and time schedule are not finalized until April 1.

What if I lose my Direct Registration link or it's not working?

Let us know!  We can either troubleshoot issues or provide you with a new link ( or 206-281-2575).

What happens during an Individual Advising appointment?

You’ll talk with an expert advisor 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, will discuss your major/intended area of study, and will 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 Direct Registration Survey or during their Individual Advising appointment, 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.

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 process ( or 206-281-2575). If you've already registered, contact your Academic Counselor directly to make updates.

What if I want to change my NSA type?

That's not a problem!  Simply sign up again using the links found on the main NSA website. We will always assume your most recent NSA sign up reflects your preference. If you've already scheduled your NSA appointment or completed your Direct Registration Survey, it would help us if you could also let us know you’d like to change your NSA type ( or 206-281-2575).

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.