What’s the difference: academic advisor and admissions counselor?

Both academic advisors and admissions counselors are important to your college journey but they have different roles. Let’s break down the different ways that academic advisors and admissions counselors can support you.

Admissions Counselors: Help you get admitted to a college or university

Admissions counselors work with prospective students to determine if Portland State is the best school for you. They go on high school visits, meet with prospective students and answer questions about the admissions process. You will meet with admissions counselors primarily in the beginning of your college journey, as you learn more about schools at college fairs, go on tours and learn more about universities.

Admissions counselors are knowledgeable about the application process. They review your application and help you understand financial aid and scholarship programs. They may also be able to provide general information about your academic requirements.

Academic Advisors: Help you meet your academic degree requirements

Academic advisors help you choose class schedules so that you can meet the requirements of your major. They can also offer you guidance and help you manage your other commitments like extracurriculars or work. Our advisors are the resource to go to with questions about your program. They will help you reach your academic goals by listening to your needs, interests and strengths. 

You will meet with your advisor a lot during your first year of college as you get familiar with class schedules and major requirements. But they are available anytime to reconnect.

If you are a transfer student and might have questions about admissions as well as academic standing, our advising team at the Transfer and Returning Student Resource Center can help with your questions. They can offer general advice prior to enrolling in classes and help you plan courses at your current college, but they will defer specific degree questions to academic advisors.

Academic advisors and admissions counselors can help you in different ways and at different times in your college journey. Meet with your academic advisor for help with choosing classes and guidance on your academic choices, and your admissions counselor to help you determine which college is right for you.