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How to Make the Most of Your Academic Advisor

Most students go through college rarely seeing their academic advisor. This isn't recommended. Here are some easy tips to make the most of this resource.

College academic advisors are not only there to help guide your course of study throughout your four years of higher education but also to provide great study tips, insights about professors, and assistance finding internships. Don’t make the mistake of going through college and not taking advantage of this great resource, mentorship, and support system. Here are a few things that all college students should consider as the school year starts about how you can develop the best working relationship with your advisor. 

Make a four-year plan

Regardless of your year in college, meet with your advisor early and the year and create an academic plan. If you're a first-year student, you and your advisor should be developing your four-year plan. This is a rough outline of which classes you will take each of the eight semesters you will be enrolled at the university. It's not a set-in-stone plan that you have to follow, but creating it has benefits. As long as you have a rough idea of what you need to take for core classes, it ensures you meet all the requirements for your major and shows you how many credits you need to take each semester. It is also important to update this four-year plan occasionally to stay on track to graduate as planned.

Related: How to Easily Plan and Register for Your College Courses

Create a positive relationship

Don’t only meet with your advisor when it's time to schedule classes. Advisors are very busy during the beginning of the semester with many students to see and short time slots to get you the information you need for registering for the next semester’s courses. Take advantage of your advisor’s open office hours or make an appointment to touch base with them about your academic concerns throughout the semester to build a good relationship with them. Let your advisor know if you're struggling with a course as soon as you realize it might be a problem for you. They may be able to help you with tips and information about study sessions or introduce you to other students who have taken the course and might be available to tutor you or explain information.

Come prepared

When you go to any advising appointment, be prepared with a list of questions you want to ask or topics you want to talk about. If it's your planning meeting, show up with a tentative idea of classes you want to take, and know what you need from your advisor during that visit. Taking an active role in your education is one of the best things you can do to make the most of your college experience. When you leave for your meeting, be sure you bring a notebook and something to write with too, so you can jot down any relevant notes you may need later—class isn't the only place to make sure you pay attention. 

Related: Video: Taking Advantage of Your Professors' Office Hours

Remember, academic advisors are there to guide you through your college journey. You are the one paying to get an education; so, it's important to that you get the most out of it by utilizing the people on campus who are there to help. Have you made an appointment with your advisor yet? What are you waiting for? Send them an email right now to set up a time to talk.

Not all student resources are created equal! How does your college (or school of interest) stack up? Find out if it's on our Best Colleges and Universities for Access to Student Support Services list.

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About Megan Sietsma

Megan Sietsma

Megan Sietsma attemded Purdue University to pursue a degree in English Education with a minor in Linguistics & Reading. Megan worked as a Technical Writer and Research Assistant with Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue and was active in the community through her involvement with Purdue University Dance Marathon, Junior Achievement, and the Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference. She enjoys reading, creative writing, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends


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