There are few things in college more precious than appointments with an academic advisor. Not only is there more competition for their time, but they tend to be the difference between a well-organized schedule and an unexpected fifth year at school.
You may have managed to get out of high school without talking to your advisor much. Do not make this mistake in college. Everyone needs their advisor, whether that advisor be a departmental, professional school, study abroad, or collegiate advisor. Current students aren’t the only ones who need them either; future students need their expertise, too.
Pre-registration advising is a huge part of what your advisor will do for you, and it’s usually the first time you meet them.
During orientation, welcome week, or another visit (depending on your school and individual situation), you will meet with your academic advisor to plan for your future. The most urgent matter is your schedule for your first term. If you’re undecided, that schedule will be a good blend of general requirements (English, math, or science classes that are graduation requirements for EVERYBODY) along with a ‘fun’ class or two.
At most universities, you can be ‘undecided’ (or without a major) through your sophomore year. However, if this is the boat you’re in, it’s never too early to start thinking about it! Advisors are a great source of information about your different options. Additionally, they know networking. If there is someone in a department or office that you should get in touch with, they will know emails and office locations.
A good advisor wants the best for you, and I have yet to meet a truly bad one. Most people will advise you to meet with your advisor at least once a year. I say meet with them once a term/semester at least. If you have any new plans, like study abroad or switching/adding majors/minors, meet with them ‘as needed’. They will help you as best as they can, then direct you to someone with expertise for more information.
This week, I’m going to do something similar. Talking to someone about majors can be intimidating, and the pressure to pick RIGHT NOW can be overwhelming. So, to help you all get an idea of what that long list of majors actually means, I will be going through different majors, the types of classes involved, and the careers that can come from them.
Send me an email if you have private questions or want to hear about something specific: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo by Merrimack College under Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0)