Academic Advising

Welcome to Holy Cross College’s Academic Advising website for first-year students! The mission in Academic Advising is to provide students with the resources they need to have a successful transition to Holy Cross. Our academic advisors are full-time faculty who are experts in student development and will provide the necessary guidance to students as they are challenged in both the classroom and in student life. Throughout a student’s first year, academic advisors will teach students about academic expectations, academic requirements, and career planning. Through these endeavors, first-year students will become more independent in their academic planning.

To schedule an appointment with your first-year advisor, please call (574) 239-8369 or stop by the Faculty Reception desk in Vincent 111.

Left to Right: Gwendolyn Higgins, Brian Howard, and Br. Patrick Sopher
Left to Right: Gwendolyn Higgins, Brian Howard, and Br. Patrick Sopher

First-Year Students

Welcome to Holy Cross!

If you are a first-year student, you will meet an academic advisor for the first time at SOAR, where they will guide you through registering for fall classes. You will then be assigned to a specific advisor: either Brian Howard, Gwen Higgins, or Br. Patrick Sopher. You must meet with this person again in the fall to register for spring semester classes. Your advisor will give you a PIN in order to register for classes.

You will meet with your advisor again during spring semester to register for fall classes. If you are ready to declare a major during spring of your freshman year, you will have the opportunity do that and will then be assigned to an academic advisor within your specific major.

Transfer Students

Welcome to Holy Cross!

We look forward to being one of the first people to welcome you to our college and guide you through your transition. As a transfer student, you are required to come to SOAR, where you will meet with an advisor who will help you register for fall classes. You will also have the opportunity to declare your major at this point and be assigned to an academic advisor within your specific major.

Make sure to send us your official transcripts as soon as possible. We will need this information to evaluate which courses you may already have credit for and determine what classes you will need to complete.

Academic Probation

A student is placed on academic probation if they are admitted on academic probation or if their semester or cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0.

If you are on academic probation, you are required to meet with your academic advisor regularly throughout the semester. You must meet with your advisor during the second week of classes to sign a probation contract and establish guidelines and goals to be successful. Please take advantage of our many campus resources to assist you! One resource we offer is the Learning Resource Center which offers free math and writing tutoring. Never hesitate to ask for help! There are several people and resources available to support you.

You can find the Academic Probation Contract here.

Preparing for an Appointment

Academic advising is a collaborative effort between the student and the academic advisor. Students are best served when they are active participants in the advisement and registration process. Registration for continuing students begins after each fall and spring break, and students should follow the guidelines below.

Students are required to take an active role in their academic planning. As a student, you should do the following:

  • During the week before fall and spring break, make an appointment to meet with your academic advisor right after the break.
  • Think about what you would like to get out of your advising session.
  • Come prepared to give the advising session your full attention.
  • Review the academic core curriculum.
  • Review the majors and minors that you are interested in pursuing.
  • Check the online Course Schedule to see what courses are available next semester.
  • Check class times and course prerequisites.
  • Write down at least five courses that you might take next semester and bring this list to your advising appointment.
  • Once you and your academic advisor have discussed your academic plan, you will be given a PIN so you can register for your classes.
  • Make sure to complete your registration before the fall deadline (end of November) and the spring deadline (end of April) in order to not receive a late registration fee.

Meet Your Advisor

Brian Howard
Dean, Academic Support Services
My name is Brian Howard, and I am the Dean of Academic Support Services. My passion is serving students. I enjoy learning about students’ backgrounds, interests, and dreams in order to assist them as they transition to college and meet their academic and life goals. I grew up in central Illinois and received my Master’s degree in Higher Education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Before joining the Holy Cross family in 2005, I worked as an academic advisor in the St. Louis, Missouri area for seven years. In my free time, I enjoy reading, jogging, travelling, hiking, camping, fishing, sports, and spending lots of time with my wife and twin daughters.

Gwendolyn Higgins
Academic Advisor
My name is Gwen Higgins, and I am thrilled to join the Holy Cross family in my new role as an academic advisor! I am a proud Michigander and am originally from Southeast Michigan. I graduated from Madonna University with a double major in English and Communication. While in college, I had the amazing experience of studying abroad in France, London, and Central America. After finishing my undergraduate studies, I moved to West Michigan where I earned my Master’s degree in Higher Education from Grand Valley State University. During my master’s program, I worked as a graduate assistant in an academic advising office working with students pursing math and science majors. In my free time I enjoy reading, traveling, going to concerts, and spending time in the sun. I am excited to continue working in higher education at Holy Cross College and eager to get to know and help students!

Br. Patrick Sopher
Academic Advisor
I am Brother Patrick Sopher, a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Recently, Brother John Paige invited me to become an academic advisor at Holy Cross College. I was delighted to accept. Though I grew up in Southern California, I was born in Spokane, Washington, while my dad was working on a project linked to the creation of the first atomic bombs. After my family returned to the Los Angeles area in 1945, I attended public and Catholic schools. I joined the Brothers in 1962 and did my undergraduate work at Notre Dame, majoring in History. I taught and administered at high schools in Southern and Northern California, Louisiana, and Texas. In between my assignments in the schools, I became administrator of the South-West jurisdiction of the Holy Cross Congregation. I also served twice at the Holy Cross General Headquarters in Rome, Italy. My time in Italy gave me ample opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes: visiting historical places. I also enjoy playing chess, doing crossword puzzles, and reading all sorts of non-fiction books. Brother John’s invitation to serve at Holy Cross College came just as I was finishing my second tour of duty in Rome. I value my years in the Eternal City, but over the years my favorite assignments have been those that brought me into contact with students and provided opportunities for me to be of assistance to them. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this way once again.

*If you wish to change your academic advisor, please contact Brian Howard


You can visit this page for answers to our most frequently asked questions.