Getting the Most Out of Meeting with Your Academic Advisor

In college, academic advisors are students’ best resource for course selection, scheduling and referrals to other services on campus. Many students don’t realize this and only schedule advising appointments once a year to discuss which courses to take. Think of your advisor as your “point person” — someone who can listen and direct you to the resources you’ll need to succeed. To get the most out of your advising appointment, make sure you do these five things:

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  1. Schedule your appointment at a time where you won’t be rushed. It may seem like a good idea to squeeze a drop-in in between classes, but it’s important that you have time to ask the questions you need answered.

  2. Ask all the questions. Write down all the questions you have in a notebook (and remember to bring it to the appointment). Consider asking about things like important dates to remember, such as drop/add, as well as potential careers you can pursue with your degree.

  3. Be honest. If you aren’t performing well in a course, be upfront and proactive. After the first exams or major assignments, you should know if you’re doing well. If not, visit your advisor and the course professor to see what can be done to improve.

  4. Do your homework. Most universities and colleges have reports called degree audits that students can download to see what degree requirements they have yet to fill. Print out yours, read it, and bring it to your advising appointment.

  5. Stay in touch. Email your advisor if you have follow-up questions. Advisors contain a wealth of information, and they are on your side. Help them help you by maintaining a direct line of communication.

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