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Campus Life

Whether you’re coming to the University of Saint Francis out of high school, transferring from another college, or returning to the classroom after a few years away, the First Year Advising team is ready to help you navigate your USF experience.

Getting Started

First things first.

Getting your first class schedule is an exciting moment. Your advisor will contact you about your schedule shortly after you make your deposit and complete some additional enrollment paperwork. My Cougar Connection (MCC), our student portal, will connect you to the forms, resources and services you need, including Cougar Checkpoint, a checklist for required items and tasks.

About First Year Advising

First Year Advising is part of the overall First-Year Experience. Designed to help you transition to academic, social, cultural and spiritual life at USF, the FYE also includes Orientation, Welcome Weekend and a First-Year Seminar called Engage.

How We Help Our Newest Cougars

Acclimation to Our Community

A big part of the First Year Advising program is introducing you to our Franciscan values and connecting you with people, resources and opportunities across campus.

Degree & Career Planning 

Your first-year advisor gets to know your academic, professional and personal goals so they can help you develop a solid plan.

Financial Planning & Resources

Intentional academic advising also ensures you’re on track financially. Completing your degree within your desired timeline keeps your education affordable as possible.

Academic Support & Engagement

Your first-year advisor’s role is more than scheduling your first semester of courses at USF. Our team will help you develop a support network and find the resources you need to succeed.

What’s next? In the spring semester, you’ll be assigned a faculty advisor from within your area of study who will help you stay on track and mentor you throughout the rest of your time at USF. You’ll always have academic and career support services available to you as well.

How to Find & Contact Your Advisor

You’ll be assigned an advisor based on your major, program or area of study. Use the chart here to help you locate your personal guide to all-things-USF.

Area of Study/Division Included Degree programs Your Advisor
Academic Exploration Undecided Majors Melissa Layton
Allied Healthcare Advanced Medical Imaging
Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Health Services
Health & Exercise Science
Physical Therapist Assistant Studies
Radiologic Technology
Social Work
Surgical Technology
Heather Essex
Behavioral & Social Sciences Criminal Justice & Criminology
Melissa Layton
Business Accounting
Business Administration
Risk Management & Insurance
Cristen Alarie
Computer Art & Technology Animation
Computer Information Systems
Game & Application Development
Chelsie McCorkle
Creative Arts Dance
Digital Media Management
Graphic Design
Music Technology
Pre-Art Therapy
Studio Art
Visual Art Education
Chelsie McCorkle
Education Educational Studies
Elementary Education (K-6)
Special Education
Chelsie McCorkle
Exploratory Healthcare Programs Chelsie McCorkle
Humanities Communication – Film
Communication – Public Relations
Interdisciplinary Studies
Melissa Layton
Nursing Associate of Science (ASN)
Bachelor of Science (BSN)
Heather Essex
Pre-Professional Programs Pre-Chiropractic Medicine
Pre-Medicine: Biology
Pre-Medicine: Chemistry
Pre-Physician Assistant
Pre-Veterinary Medicine
Cristen Alarie
Sciences Biology
Clinical Laboratory Science
Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental Science
Cristen Alarie

Meet Our Staff

Our first-year advising team is excited to help you prepare for your USF journey.

Heather Essex

Heather Essex Born and raised in Ft. Wayne, I graduated from Northrop High School. I graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington with a B.A. from the Individualized Major Program and a M.A. in African American African Diaspora Studies. I am currently pursuing a M.S. from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling at USF. I look forward to mentoring and advocating for our First-Year students as they transition into the University of Saint Francis.

Melissa Layton

Melissa LaytonWhile I have been a part of the USF community for nearly 15 years, always working with students, I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with new students in the Humanities, Behavioral and Social Sciences and to continue working with Academic Exploration or ‘not yet decided’ students. I have been working with college students almost every year since I graduated college myself. This is in part because I think college experience is a thrilling and transformational one for students. I want to help students in their transition to USF and to help them understand and make the most of their own experience.

Chelsie McCorkle

Chelsie McCorkleUSF is another home for me in many ways–I’ve been a student here (2008-2012), taught in the English department (2015-2020), and now get to serve as a First Year Advisor. I enjoyed my time as a student but struggled deeply in my first year. As a first-generation student, I felt like an imposter, failing to see where I fit and how I could connect. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything more meaningful than supporting students who might be facing something similar, advocating for them at every step of their transition, and using my experiences as a source of continued encouragement. I feel called to educate students on their options, always letting them decide their path.

Cristen Alarie
Cristen Alarie
Having owned a local business, coached varsity sports, and worked in a variety of education roles, I am excited to work with Business and Science majors! It is vital for students to feel welcomed, respected, valued, and heard. I encourage questions, I engage students, I support critical thought, I boost spirits, I inspire dreams, and I strive to cultivate life-long learning. I am passionate about helping students transition to USF, learn to navigate resources, develop beneficial strategies, and encourage academic, career, and personal growth. I hold a Master of Science in Academic Advising and look forward to learning alongside students.

General Advising Contact Information

If you have general questions about advising, here’s how to get in touch with us:

Phone: 260-399-8065
Campus Location: Pope John Paul II 210 & 211