Building a strong relationship with your academic adviser early in your academic career will help you graduate on time and maximize your academic experience. Consider your academic adviser a resource and a guide to help you navigate your academic career successfully. I personally recommend you meet your academic adviser at least three times a semester. You should be in regular communication with your adviser (not only when there’s a mad dash to schedule classes.) Be proactive in your communication with your academic adviser. That means email them often and early. Here’s what you do during each appointment.
Try to meet with your academic adviser before the school year begins if possible. (Yes, that’s completely possible.) You’re more likely to get a favorable time to meet and your adviser won’t be bogged down with back to back appointments. During your first meeting, take a moment to explore options in your academic career. Let your adviser know the general direction you want to take your academic career and what you are thinking about doing afterward. This way your adviser understands what you want out of your academic experience and he or she can introduce you to the right coursework with the right professors to get you the experience you need. This will require you to do research beforehand as well. Your adviser can’t help you if you don’t help yourself. Don’t worry. Nothing is set in stone and you can always change your mind later but you have to take the first step.
The second meeting should be about halfway through the semester, but preferably after the drop date. Remember, you want to avoid the mad dash for classes. If you make the most of your meeting with your academic adviser, you can avoid having to drop classes for preventable reasons. That’s the point of meeting with your academic advisor early; to avoid taking classes you’ll eventually regret later.
During this meeting, you’ll discuss how the semester is progressing. This is the time to tell your advisor what you think of the class; both what you like and what you think could be improved. If the class or the subject matter is not what you expected, share that as well. Remember, your academic advisor is there to help you make the most of your academic career. They can’t help you if you’re not honest with them.
You should also start to plan a rough sketch of classes you want to take next semester. Take this time to explore alternative academic experiences like study abroad, foreign exchange programs, internships for credit, and other ways to make the most of your academic experience. Remember nothing is set in stone yet so you can explore your different options. Your adviser will appreciate the initiative on your part and you will appreciate the resources they offer.
The third meeting should be 2-3 weeks before enrollment time. The third time you meet, you two might be in a pinch because everyone is scrambling to schedule classes or graduate.
This will not be you.
You will be prepared because you already talked about some classes to take next semester during your second meeting. This meeting is more to review the semester and talk about what you learned and explore some different options in your academic career.
This is also the time to configure the right coursework for next semester to make sure you are getting exactly what you want. This meeting can be relatively short and more concise than the other two meetings because your advisor might be crunched for time.
Regardless, you’ll leave the meeting with exactly what you need for next semester and assured that you are in the right classes getting the most out of your academic career.
Consider your academic advisor an indispensable resource in helping you graduate in 4 years or less.
Don’t get me wrong.
They’re not magicians.
They can’t read your mind, but if you maintain open lines of communication and you’re honest about what you want out of your academic experience, they can work wonders.
Plus, being proactive goes a long way with academic advisers. You make their lives easier that way. When you make their life easier, they will make your life easier. Meeting your academic adviser early and often can also save you money and time. It can save you money by helping you find classes that can double dip or avoid taking classes that will not benefit you in the long-run. This is a part of the secret to graduating on time.
Trust me. Academic advisers are indispensable. Strive to get as much face time with them as possible. (While you’re at it, make an appointment with your career adviser!)
How do you make the most of your appointment with your academic adviser? Share your experience in the comments section below! If you found this article helpful, please pass it along. If you have any questions about college life, ask them here or in the comments section below.