How Can Your Academic Advisor Help You?

Out of all the people who are there to help you succeed in college, your academic advisor can be your best friend. This person is assigned to you in order to guide you through your entire college career. Why do so many students go to their advisor only when required by the college? This person is a great resource, and they actually want to help. So do yourself a favor and make time to meet with your advisor.

Is four years enough time?

College lasts four years; to a freshman, this seems like forever; to a senior, it was way too short. The truth is, four years is just the right amount of time. A dedicated student with a proactive mindset can earn up to two liberal arts majors and a minor in those four years. With a more focused degree program, such as Nursing or Engineering,you might only be able to also earn a single or double minor. All of that time is built into the structure of modern education, but you’ll only be able to take advantage of it when you thoughtfully pursue your education. Your academic advisor can help you explore all of these options. Ask them to help you plan your semesters ahead of time; then you will not be scrambling when class selection rolls around each year. Your academic advisors are experienced in their field, and they understand the particular workings of the institution. Who better to help you navigate your college career?

Your Big Picture

This person is not just there to help you check off boxes either. Present them with the big picture. Why are you going to college? Why are you earning this degree? They can help you with your long-term goals, or, if you are not sure, they can facilitate productive exploration. Talking with your advisor early on about a long-term plan will set you up for success. Ask them their opinion on when to take certain classes, which teachers do they recommend and when is it time to make big decisions. Do not be afraid to tell them which are your strong and weak areas. Armed with all this information, they can help you make the best choices. If you go into college knowing what you want, that’s wonderful; however, being undecided about what major you want to pursue is fine for only the first two years. The college experience is specifically planned to allow for this decision time. Take as many General Education classes as possible. Take some electives and dabble in what interests you.

Do not limit yourself

All of that exploration may lead to questions your advisor cannot answer. Sometimes you could benefit from someone else’s opinion. Changing academic advisors or choosing to have more than one designated source is encouraged. Any professor would be thrilled to talk to you about their field of study. They did go through many years of education to get where they are. One of the biggest mistakes a freshman can make is being shy with a professor. Approach them, talk to them, and pick their brains. You are there to get educated, and that can happen in so many other ways than just the lecture hall. Decide to be proactive early on, and then you’ll graduate, not only with your degree, but also with a sense of satisfaction about your undergrad experience.

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