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What Questions Should I Ask My Academic Advisor?

Your academic advisor is your best partner for a successful college experience. Here are some expert recommendations for questions you should be asking them.

Silhouette of person sitting at desk with laptopBen Smith
Digital Marketing Manager, Union Institute & University
Whether you’re registering for classes for the first time or returning to school after a long break, figuring out how to earn your college degree can be intimidating. But you have a secret weapon in your academic advisor. They are your best partner for a successful college experience, ready to help you step-by-step through your educational journey. Below are some tips and questions you should ask to make your relationship with your academic advisor as successful as possible.

  • What does an academic advisor do, and how can you help me? An academic advisor’s ultimate goal is to help you graduate, acting as a supporting agent throughout the entirety of your academic career.
  • What is the school's academic schedule? An academic schedule will plan the courses you need to take to graduate. 
  • How long will my degree take to complete? A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years, a master's two years, and a PhD several years.
  • What is the cost of my degree? Your academic advisor will be sure you understand all the costs involved in obtaining your degree.
  • What financial aid options are available to me? Many options are available to assist you as you finance your education. The financial aid office will guide you with your FAFSA, which determines your federal grand and loan opportunities.
  • Where do I learn about course books/materials needed for my classes? Your academic advisor can provide information on book lists and other class materials needed prior to the start of each academic term, or they can tell you where to find this information.
  • I’m having trouble accessing the online classroom—can you help me? Your academic advisor is trained to help you navigate your university’s virtual student environment. You don’t have to be technologically savvy to earn an online degree.
  • What resources are available to me while I complete my degree? Your academic advisor can connect you with many available resources, including a comprehensive online library, student writing center, and career services counselor.
  • I’ve earned my degree—what do I do if I want to continue my education? There are many bridge programs available to graduating students who wish to continue to advanced degrees. Your academic advisor can help you seamlessly transition to the next level.

For more expert advice on academic questions you need answered, check out our Majors and Academics—Ask The Experts section.

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