Academic Adviser – Love ‘um or Leave ‘um

by | Academic Advising, College Advising, College Success Life, Graduation, Information Literacy

Your College Academic Adviser...love ‘um or leave ‘um?  In other words, do you consider your academic adviser an asset or a potential liability?

In high school, you can wait forever to see your guidance counselor. However, you’ll find that your academic adviser is a wee bit more accessible.  In most cases, you can always contact them either by an in-person appointment, text, email, or phone call.

Like faculty, academic advisers should be key members of your advising team.  They know what most faculty do not know – how to satisfy the graduation requirements of your college or university and do so successfully.

Consulting regularly with an academic adviser can often put your mind at ease in terms of solving many of the academic and social problems you may encounter along the way.

Campus Information Guru – Your Academic Adviser

In theory, academic advisers are all knowing about campus life, academics, and student activities.  And if they don’t know, then they know how to direct you to the individual who does know.

In reality, you may be having an altogether different experience with your academic adviser. Perhaps you haven’t made that connection yet.  Or you have and you’re not necessarily that happy with your choice.

After all, academic advisers are human beings and function like everybody else, some good, some bad, and others, just plain, old mediocre.  If, in fact, you don’t have a compatible, working relationship with your academic adviser, then may be you should consider making a change.

Check with your college student handbook about the process for changing academic advisers.  Then ask several upperclassmen who would they recommend and why?

Best Approach…

Making a change could be as simple as just sending an email request for a change of advisers to your campus’ Academic Advising Office.  However, before you send that email, if at all possible, check out the potential candidates for yourself.

If circumstances allow, even give some thought to “interviewing” them. Is there good chemistry?  Do you feel comfortable in their presence?  This is about building a long term, interactive relationship and not a drive-by counseling session.

Keep in mind that you’re looking for someone who knows how to access the information you’ll need specifically to achieve your college and career objectives.  Most of all, it is really important for you to have on your team an academic adviser you can trust and whose advice you respect.

The name of the game today is for you to pull together a team of on and off campus advisers who can and will assist you in achieving your college and career goals.  They definitely don’t have to know each other.  You will be at the center of that constellation of professionals, all eager to help you succeed.

Maximizing Your Options

Remember, you are laying the groundwork for building your own personal college and career network.  Don’t wait until your junior or senior year to begin this process.  If you’re already a junior or senior, then there is no time like the present to begin!  Building a  diverse collaborative of advisers as you begin your college journey is a solid investment in your future.

Finally, if you do run into a campus administrative problem, take care of it immediately.

Help, on campus, is always available. Use your campus resources.  You’re already paying for them, so make them work for you.  And as far as your attitude when dealing with these folks – old wise tale, “you get more with honey, than you do with vinegar”.

Have a terrific and productive academic year!

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A Word to the Wise...

Whenever a college student faces an academic and/or social challenge, they often ask a peer or a friend first for advice. And that’s okay.

However, resolving the issue to your best advantage often requires consulting with an academic advising professional as well.

Your academic adviser knows the campus academically, administratively, and socially.

And what they don’t know, they can point you to the person who does know.  Include this strategy in your current plan for college success.

Disclaimer Reminder: A college student's first line of inquiry should always be with their campus academic adviser. College Success Life Advising Sessions provide additional problem-solving options to undergraduate and graduate students for further exploration on their individual campuses. Students should always consult their assigned adviser not only during the course selection process but periodically to keep apprised of programmatic changes, testing requirements, course additions/deletions, GPA modifications, etc.

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