Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Organized Student: Making the Most of Academic Advising

The world of college has many unique things about it.  At all universities, when you register you are assigned an academic advisor.  This advisor is usually a faculty member of the department you are studying within. Throughout the past few years I found from talking to many people that they aren't really sure what to talk to their advisor about during their mandatory advising appointment. Your advisor is supposed to serve as a resource, someone who can guide you through your college years.  He/she is there to help you with the academic struggles and personal struggles that college can bring. In today’s post you can find some helpful tips and tricks to assist you with academic advising.

Know what you advisor can and cannot help you with:

What your advisor can help you with
Be an active listener and answer any questions you may have. Sometimes during academic advising you are dealing with cross roads in your major or life, and this person is there to help guide you.

Provide you with information about your university and all of the resources that are available to you.

Guide you through the academics of college. What classes fit into your major and which ones don’t.

Help you develop goals that you can achieve during and after college.

Treat you with respect, not like a child.

What your advisor cannot help you with:

Your advisor can be there to listen, but they are not a professional counselor. They cannot provide you with professional counseling services, but they are able to provide you with the proper resources to help you deal with any issues you may be facing.

Be available only when it is convenient for you. Your advisor is a faculty member with lots of things going on. You cannot expect to demand a meeting a certain day and time.

Not be supportive. Your advisor is there to help you, not tear you down. If you are having any negative experiences with your advisor, seek out another faculty member to serve as your advisor.

Do your part to make the most of your advising experience:

Schedule meetings. Don’t force your advisor to reach out to you when your scheduling date is approaching.  Utilize your advisor, by meeting with them more than just the mandatory semester appointment.

Be on time.  There’s nothing like starting a meeting off on the wrong foot.  By showing up on time or early you are demonstrating that you are a young professional rather than a child.  You are showing how you respecting them.

Come prepared! Do your research before hand. Know what classes you want to take and some possible sections you might register for.  It is best if you have a schedule pre made and then bring it show to your professor.

Ask questions. Your advisor will be able to answer your questions. They are there to help you. If you don’t ask questions to get the answers you need, then your advisor won’t know how to help you.

Be a self-advocate.  Doing all of these things will help you advocate for yourself. If you do not understand something, then ask your advisor to rephrase it in a way that is logical to you.  Additionally, get your advisor to help you get to where you need to be.  This person can help you find internships, a summer job, write a letter of recommendation, etc.

Good luck!


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