Welcome to your first semester of college! As you adjust to your new daily grind, you’ll likely find you have many obligations filling your calendar. Despite your busy schedule, be sure to make time to see your academic advisor at least once per semester. Although some of your advising-related questions can be answered with a quick search online, here are five reasons to take advantage of academic advising this fall.
Stay on track for graduation
The goal of academic advising is to help you complete your degree in a timely manner. Therefore, advisors are great at helping you with your needs related to degree progress and course scheduling. If you want to schedule your next semester, or even your next four years, see your advisor for assistance. Whether you have planned everything out or don’t know where to start, they can help.
Plan or change your class schedule
It’s common for students to change their class schedule before, and even during, the semester. If you are looking at a schedule change, check in with your advisor to find out if there are any policies that would affect you or rules you must follow. Advisors are especially helpful when working around the academic calendar. For example, you might ask about the process to drop or add a class after the semester has started, and how those actions impact your degree progress.
A potential switch in your major
According to USA Today College, nearly 80% of college students end up switching majors throughout college. If you’re considering a major change, talk to your current advisor as well as the advisor of the program you wish to join, to ask questions related to admission requirements, degree progress, the courses you’ve already completed, and career opportunities in the field. Advisors are well versed in these areas and can provide you with the facts you need to make an informed decision. Furthermore, an advisor will likely be the person processing your change of major, so you will need to seek out their help.
Discover opportunities for involvement
Your college experience isn’t just academics, and your academic advisor knows this. Sometimes, however, it is hard for students to get connected to opportunities on and off campus. If you are looking for clubs, organizations, internships, volunteer experiences, student jobs, or study abroad experiences, see your advisor for help. They get frequent updates about involvement opportunities and can share these with you.
Make post-graduation plans
What might you want to do after graduation? You may be surprised to know you have more options than you thought! Among other choices, students can choose to seek out full-time work in their field, pursue a residency or internship, join a specialized program such as Teach for America or the Peace Corps, or apply to graduate school. See your advisor to discover the various possibilities, ask questions, and get connected to resources related to your interests. They can assist you in exploring your interests or refer you to another office on campus that can help.
When contacting your advisor, keep in mind that your college advising office will have slow and busy periods, so be sure to schedule appointments early to get your questions answered in a timely fashion. If you wait until the last minute, like many other students, you may not get the information you need on time. Also, see your advisor as an ally to your progress. They are there to help you, so build a friendly relationship with them and take advantage of their knowledge. You won’t regret it!
Brenna Tonelli is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.