You’ve definitely heard of your academic advisor before, but how well do you actually know them? Many of us meet our advisors during our freshman orientation where they help us choose our first semester of courses. But this shouldn’t be your last meeting with them. Sure, we may think we have it all down, but why would you just wing something as important as your college career when you have access to such a valuable resource? Take a look at how you can make the most of your academic advisor:
They give career planning advice.
Your advisor has helped plenty of students in your position, so they’re well aware of where your degree can take you. There are two major ways your advisor can help you out here:
When you don’t have a major: A lot of students start out college undecided about their major, and that’s okay. We shouldn’t be expected to have our lives figured out as soon as we turn 18. If you’re not sure what you should major in, your advisor can help you take your interests and suggest majors and careers that might appeal to you. They can even recommend classes that will get your foot in the door of potential majors, which will help you see which path resonates with you best.
When you do have a major: Your advisor can guide you with mapping out a plan that will help you achieve your career goals. This includes information on internships, course recommendations, and campus organizations to get involved in. They can also introduce you to different career paths available to those with your major. Imagine learning about a dream career that you didn’t even know was an option for you! Furthermore, working with your advisor on figuring out the groundwork of your future allows them to suggest adding things like a minor or specialization to your degree. Your dream career is now within reach!
They provide course selection assistance.
You’ve registered for courses before, so you know the drill. Then why do you need to continuously meet with your advisor every semester when course registration time comes up? Easy. You don’t want to miss out on something important.
Your advisor has met with numerous students that have all been in your shoes. They know all of the right courses you should take, when the best time to take them is, and any prerequisites or time constraints that come with each course.
Look, we know it can be a pain taking time out of your busy schedule for an appointment with your advisor. But imagine missing out on a course requirement the semester before graduation only to find out that the course won’t be offered again for another year! It happens – and it’s an expensive and preventable mistake. If it means graduating on time, we’re all for taking that extra time out of our schedules for an appointment.
Now, prepare for a meeting!
Your academic advisor has access to all the tools you need for success, but it’s up to you to go and get them. Ideally, you should schedule one meeting per semester, but it’s always okay to schedule more if needed. During busy time frames, such as course registration periods, make sure you schedule your meeting in advance to secure a spot. Before heading to your meeting, think about your academic and career goals. Have these goals ready for discussion when you arrive. It’s also a good idea to bring a list of courses you’re interested in and any questions you have about your classes and/or your future career path. If you’re not sure whether or not your advisor can help you with your specific question, don’t leave it behind – if they can’t directly help you, they’ll at least be able to refer you to other staff members and resources that can.
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