Advising 101: What Your Advisor Can Do For You

Getting through the logistical nightmares of your undergraduate career can be a very daunting task. There are course catalogues to master, prerequisites to manage, internships to find and extracurricular activities to join.

Thank goodness you don’t have to go through this alone! There are a lot of people who are put on campus to make your life a little easier, one of those lovely people is your academic advisor.

The relationship that you have with your academic advisor can be one of the most important and beneficial relationships that you have in your academic career. In order to get the most out of that relationship there are a few things that you must do, and a few things that your advisor should be able to do for you.

What You Should Do For Your Advisor

  •  Schedule A Meeting

You should schedule regular meetings with your advisor each year to ensure that you are on the right track for graduation. During these meetings you can look over your course catalogue, the classes you have taken, what you still need to take, and how to get through the rest of your degree as smoothly as possible. Advisors typically have mandatory meetings with advisees once a year, beyond that, it is up to you.  Your advisor can not help you unless you make an effort to seek out their assistance. They aren’t exactly allowed to come knock at your dorm room door, so make sure you keep up with the meetings you schedule.

  •  Be Prepared

These advising meetings are most helpful if both you and your advisor are prepared. This means you need to come into the meeting with all of the necessary documents, notes and questions that you have. If you question is about your course catalogue, bring along your own copy with pages or sections highlighted. If you have a question about the classes you are supposed to take the next year, arrive at the meeting with a spreadsheet of your various ideas and options. Do not come into an advising meeting expecting your advisor to do that work for you. They are there to be your advocate and help you through, but you are still responsible for taking the reigns on your collegiate experience.

  •  Follow Through

Make sure that you are actually taking something away from these meetings. If you are asked to go do some research and report back, or to let them know about how a class is going, do that. Establishing a good rapport with your advisor is important and that will be helped if your communication with them is consistent.

What Your Advisor Can Do For You

  •  Provide Information and Resources

Your advisor can be very helpful when it comes time to make decisions about your schooling. He or she should have access to all of the information that you need to make decisions about scheduling your classes, how to graduate on time and how to get gain valuable career experience during your undergraduate career.

  •  Stay Informed of Rules, Regulations, and Requirements

Requirements for schooling change year to year and it can be hard to keep up. Part of your advisor’s job is to stay informed on all of these changes and how they will affect you and other advisees. If prerequisite requirements change or credits are recorded differently than you anticipated, your advisor can look into any system changes that would have made that happen. Your advisor can also be your advocate in situations when these changes catch you off guard.

  • Help Identify Internships, Graduate Schools and Career Options

This is one of the most important things about advisors. Not only are they invested in your undergraduate study, but they see beyond that. They can help to open up doors that you might not have available to you otherwise. Your advisor probably knows a great deal about internships that have lead to successful careers and good graduate schools in your field of study. If they don’t know, they probably know someone who does.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT hesitate to ask your advisor to help you out when it comes to the end of your undergraduate career. They often have a great deal of wisdom on where to go from your senior year and will not hesitate to share.

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Amber Bray

Amber Bray

Amber Bray is a senior at North Central College studying journalism and graphic design. Apart from her classes Amber writes a relationship advice column, along with other pieces, for the North Central Chronicle. She also writes and designs for North Central’s online magazine, The Viewfinder. Amber is a trivia fanatic and in her free time she enjoys board games, reading and writing fiction, and spending time with friends and family.