When it comes to school, especially college, finding out the path you need to take in order to graduate can be confusing. Before you became a college student you probably had a clear view of exactly what you wanted to do – eager to tell anyone who would listen what your plan was. Now you find yourself at the school of your dreams or, in some cases, at a school where you plan to study for a year or two, then transfer to your ideal university AND you’re not sure what you want to do with your life anymore.
You’re surrounded by students from all different backgrounds and age groups, and everyone seems like they have it together but you. *insert sad emoji here* For this reason alone, college can seem extremely intimidating. You can find yourself lost in translation, not knowing which direction to go in but Have No Fear, Your Academic Advisor is Here – or at least he or she should be!
Academic Advisors are the dedicated individuals that help students have a clear understanding of the correct classes they should take depending on which degree/major they’re pursuing. They’re usually either located in an office reserved for all academic advisors or in your specific major’s department office. Your advisors also help you create the most ideal academic schedule depending on the classes you need to take i.e. having your first class start at 11 am or only having class three days out of the week. Now how do we keep our friends close, but our academic advisors closer? Here are a few things that I suggest:
1. Be proactive.
Being a college student myself, I have found that the number one way to achieve anything is to put energy into your efforts. Finding out your advisor’s office hours is a good way to stay on track and you’d be surprised at how few students know this information! Email them to set up a time to meet. And if time permits, go see them more than once a semester.
2. Inquire about your classes before you take them.
This is probably the most important tip I can give. Classes in college can be tricky as they relate to your degree – especially if you are double-majoring, have a minor, or coming in with AP/transfer credit. Because of this, your academic advisor is the ultimate resource who can advise you on which classes make the most sense to take. Taking classes that interest you vs. classes that you need to graduate can be the difference between you graduating college in 4 years vs. 6 years. Figuring out classes and how they will apply to your degree is enough of a headache to do on your own so, trust me, you’ll welcome the help!
3. Be accountable.
Show up to your advising appointment on time. Bring the necessary documents you need i.e. academic transcripts from other institutions you attended, etc. Advisors are there to help students meet educational and career goals. However, it is up to you to be responsible for your future. Advisors just give you the blueprint, it’s your job to execute the vision you have for yourself, and turn it into a reality.
School can be tough but taking advantage of academic advisors will help out tremendously. So while in the midst of all the madness that college comes with, just take a deep breath and visit your nearest advisor’s office pronto! Have a wonderful rest of the semester. 🙂