Academic Advising

Academic Advising focuses on the development of students. The purpose is to assist students in achieving their academic, career, and personal goals while at the College.

Students are encouraged to consult with their assigned Academic Advisor about any academic or personal problems. Their advisor can help them explore their aspirations, attitudes, and interests. Services include vocational guidance, career information, and assistance with academic and study problems.

Academic Advisors are located within the Student Services Department at the Central Campus and at our other campuses (schedules vary). Academic Advising assistance is also available on a drop-in basis, but it is highly recommended to schedule an appointment.

Students can schedule an appointment with an Academic Advisor in Starfish or by calling (608) 757-7668.

Advising, Registration, and Onboarding (ARO) Session

New program students are required to attend an Advising, Registration, and Onboarding (ARO) session prior to registering in courses. During the ARO sessions, students will learn more about policies and procedures at Blackhawk Technical College, receive assistance with technology, meet with an advisor and financial aid specialist and register for courses.

In the first semester after attending an ARO session, students will be required to meet with their assigned Academic Advisor to create an individualized Master Academic Plan (MAP). Students are encouraged to work closely with their assigned Academic Advisor to create a plan that will help them reach their goals.

University Transfer Programs and Articulation Agreements

Based upon a student's educational or career goals, they may enroll in one of the University Transfer programs or work toward obtaining a bachelor's degree using one of the established articulation agreements. Students should connect with an advisor at their receiving institution and participate in parallel advising to ensure the courses they take within an associate degree are beneficial within their chosen bachelor's degree. The student is responsible for establishing and maintaining that relationship with their receiving institution.

Pathway Checkpoint

Pathway Checkpoint sessions occur during the first week of registration each semester. These sessions are optional but provide students with an opportunity to meet with an advisor and check their progress toward their degree. Students are required to bring a copy of their unofficial transcript and Master Academic Plan (MAP) to the Pathway Checkpoint. Advisors will verify that students are on track to graduation and assist with registration.


Starfish is part of student support services and is accessed through MyBTC. The Starfish tool can assist students in making appointments with individuals and/or offices around campus. Students can also use the Starfish kiosks to keep track of their attendance in labs and time in appointments.  Students can see their Success Network in Starfish and easily connect with faculty, advisors and other support staff and locate their contact information (i.e., phone number and email address).

Progress Surveys, Flags, and Kudos

Students experiencing problems completing program or course requirements should seek help immediately. Select faculty will complete an Early Alert Progress Survey through Starfish. Faculty identify attendance and/or other academic concerns early in the semester. The student’s assigned academic advisor will be notified of the concern via a flag within Starfish. The advisor will then contact the student to share resources to help keep the student on track (i.e. counseling, tutoring, academic planning, emergency financial assistance, time management, etc.).

During the semester, if the faculty has concerns about a student, the faculty member can raise a flag in Starfish that will notify the student and the assigned academic advisor of the area of concern. The assigned advisor will again contact the student to share resources and/or create a plan for the rest of the semester. Faculty are encouraged to speak with the student first regarding the concern(s) and inform the student that the advisor will be contacting him/her.

Flags raised in Starfish either through Progress Surveys or throughout the semester will be cleared after the advisor has contacted the student. The advisor will identify how they closed the loop (i.e., student reached out to advisor, call made to student-no response, etc.). All interactions will be tracked in Starfish.

Faculty also raise Kudos through Starfish and encourage and recognize the good work students do to progress in their class or college. Students are notified of these Kudos; no follow-up is needed. The use of Kudos is highly encouraged.

Midterm Grades

Midterm feedback is issued in an effort to provide students with early feedback about academic progress, as well as to provide students with services to support them in their success. At the semester midpoint of 16-week courses, Faculty are encouraged to provide feedback to students through a progress survey in Starfish. This is not required. Feedback issued may include a flag (concern), kudo (accolade), and/or comments from the Faculty. Flags raised during a midterm progress survey will result in an outreach to the student from a Blackhawk staff or Faculty member.