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Making the Most of Your Academic Advisor

Most students go through college only seeing their academic advisor when it is time to schedule classes, and some students go their entire four years without really knowing their advisor! This is not recommended.

Most students go through college only seeing their academic advisor when it is time to schedule classes, and some students go their entire four years without really knowing their advisor! This is not recommended.

Academic advisors are there to not only help guide your course of study, but they also provide great help with study tips, often have insights about professors or fun classes, and they really are willing to help.

Don’t make the mistake of going through college and not taking advantage of this great resource. Here are a few things that all college students should keep in mind when the school year starts:

Four-year plan

Regardless of your year in college, meet early-on (hopefully you did this as a freshman), and create a four-year plan with your advisor. This is a rough outline of which classes you will take the eight semesters you are 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, it helps to make sure that you meet all the requirements for your major and find out how many credits you need to take each semester. It is also important to update this four-year plan occasionally to make sure that you stay on track and are able to graduate when you planned.

Create a positive relationship

Don’t only meet your advisor when it is time to schedule classes. Advisors are oftentimes very busy during the beginning of the semester with a large number of 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 during an off-time to touch base with your advisor. Let your advisor know if you are struggling with a course (early!) because they often times can help give you tips and information about study sessions or other students who have taken the course before that might be available to help tutor or explain information.

Be prepared

When you go to an advising appointment, be prepared with a list of questions that you have, do your research, have a tentative idea of classes that you want to take, and know what you need to from your advisor during that visit. Taking an active role in your education is one of the best things that you can do to make the most of your college experience. You are the one paying to get an education; so, it is important to make sure that you get the most out of it.

Remember, academic advisors are there to help you and guide you through your college journey. Have you made an appointment with your advisor yet?

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About Megan Sietsma

Megan Sietsma

Megan Sietsma is a student at Purdue University, pursuing a degree in English education with a minor in Linguistics and Reading, and plans to graduate in May 2012. Megan also currently works as a Technical Writer and Research Assistant with Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University. Megan stays active on campus and in the community through her involvement with Purdue University Dance Marathon, Junior Achievement, and the Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference. Outside of school and work, Megan enjoys reading, creative writing, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

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