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How do I file a Petition to Graduate?

Everyone who receives a bachelor's degree from Northwestern must first submit a Petition to Graduate. You need to file a Petition to Graduate for each major you plan to complete, as well as a Minor Application if you plan to graduate with a minor. For your ISP major, download and fill out the appropriate Graduation Petition. Please leave blank any portions you are unsure about. Email the ISP Director listing several times when you will be available to meet. Bring the petition form with you to your appointment. You can read more about this requirement.

How do I declare an additional major?

Different departments have different procedures for declaring a major. You will need to fill out a Declaration of Major Form and in some instances you may need to meet with an adviser or with the director of undergraduate studies in that department. Browse a full listing of available majors and minors in WCAS with contact information.

How do I drop ISP?

Anyone considering dropping ISP should first make an appointment with the ISP Director. If you do decide to drop ISP, you need to fill out a Declaration of Major Form indicating Integrated Science in the field “Major to be Deleted.” You should make an appointment with an adviser in your new major department (or in the WCAS Undergraduate Office of Studies and Advising if you are undecided) to discuss how your ISP courses will transfer and to plan your schedule. Graduation requirements are different for ISP and non-ISP students so do not wait until the last minute to officially drop ISP from your record.

Who is my adviser? How do I make an appointment?

ISP majors are welcome to make an appointment with or attend the office hours of either the Director or Associate Director.

To make an appointment, please contact the Director or Associate Director directly listing several times you would be available to meet.

I am having housing problems, can I move into the ISP House? Can I store my belongings at ISP?

The answer to both questions is an emphatic no. University regulations strictly prohibit persons from residing in non-residential buildings. If you are having housing problems you should talk to Residential Services or to your academic adviser. Students caught living in the ISP House will have their key privileges permanently revoked. Students should also not leave any personal items unattended in the ISP House. Items (ranging from textbooks to expensive electronic equipment) have been stolen in the past.

Can I have my mail and/or packages delivered to ISP?

Current ISP students can have mail delivered to ISP in their name. It is your responsibility to set up mail forwarding and/or change your address after you graduate or in the event that you drop ISP. We will not hold or forward your mail after you are no longer a current student.

Campus mail will not deliver packages addressed to students (this includes UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost). Students living in dorms will have their packages delivered to Mail and Package Centers.

How do I request an ISP House key?

All incoming students are issued a house key upon arrival on campus. If you lose your key, or if it stops functioning properly, please contact the program assistant.

How do I make an appointment with an ISP tutor? What if I am having trouble with a non-ISP class?

ISP hires several senior students to assist their classmates with ISP courses. These tutors schedule weekly office hours and also work by appointment. Please email to obtain a list of names if you aren't sure who to contact.

If you are having trouble with a non-ISP course your first step should be to contact that department directly. Many departments have tutors on staff and all of them should be able to provide referrals. Another great resource is the Writing Place, which offers drop in hours in addition to scheduled appointments.

How do I request a letter of recommendation?

Your first step in obtaining a letter of recommendation should be to contact the current ISP Director or Associate Director and ask if they are willing to write a letter on your behalf or to act as a reference. ISP letter of recommendation guidelines are here.

Be sure to read these guidelines carefully.

How can I get help with my resume or assistance with my graduate school application or job search?

Northwestern Career Advancement offers a variety of free services and should be your first stop for help with your resume or CV, graduate school applications, or job search. To make an appointment, visit their website and log in to your Handshake account to request an individual appointment. On their website you can also download a pdf copy of their Career Guide, which contains sample resumes and answers to many common questions.


Why do I need to use an official Northwestern e-mail address in my correspondence with professors? What else should I consider when writing e-mails?

Page 87 of the Student handbook says "Faculty may assume that a student’s official University e-mail is a valid mechanism for communicating with a student..." thus students are responsible for checking their NU email accounts and for using their or addresses in official communications with NU faculty and staff. Beyond this, it is highly advisable that students avoid using Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Hanmail or other commercial email accounts when sending official email correspondences such as job/internship applications, school applications, or recommendation request. Not only that these messages can get caught by spam filters, they also do not allow students to take advantage of the prestige that the Northwestern name brings. If students prefer to use their commercial email accounts, they should plan to forward messages from their email account and set their commercial email account to send out messages with email address.

As a strongly recommended etiquette, always use a subject line that is meaningful to the recipient as well as yourself. For instance, when you send an email to a faculty member requesting a letter of recommendation, it is better to write "Letter of recommendation request from John Smith" than "Hello" or "Message from John Smith"

Last but not least, write clear, short, meaningful paragraphs and be direct and to the point; professionals and academics alike see their email accounts as business. Do not write unnecessarily long email messages or ask vague questions, or otherwise waste the recipient's time with messages that require many back and forth. For example, don't write questions like "Can we meet in the next few days?" or 'I was hoping I could meet with you to sign my petition to graduate form. Please let me know what days and times you are free this week or next." The first question is naive and deserves only one-word answer of the "Yes/No" type. The second question does not show respect for the addressee, who is your professor or advisor and is most likely to be more busier than you are. Why do you think that they would send you their whole two weeks schedule and wait for you to pick a time?

E-mails sent from non-university accounts or without a subject heading may be ignored as it will be clear that the sender has not read these guidelines.

My question is not answered here, what should I do?

The answers to many other common questions can be found in the FAQ sections of the Registrar’s webpage and the WCAS webpage. If you still need help, please contact the program assistant at

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