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What’s the Difference: Academic Advisor versus Admissions Counselor?


20200219_PSUMagazine_069 (1)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 your options for colleges and 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

You will be assigned to an academic advisor from an Advising Pathway based on your major or pre-professional option (pre-education, pre-health, etc) after you have confirmed your intent to enroll at PSU. You will need to meet with them at least once during your first year. After that, we recommend you meet with them once a year to make sure that you are still on track.


If you are a transfer student and 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 admissions counselor to help you determine which college is right for you, and with your academic advisor for help with choosing classes and guidance on your academic choices.