All throughout college, you’ll be making important decisions that will directly impact your career and your future, and having people around you that you can go to for advice, or even just to bounce ideas off of, is crucial. Along with close friends and trusted family members, academic advisors are an integral component to any solid support system. Your academic advisor is one of your strongest assets, and they can provide support in a variety of key areas.
They’ll Show You the Ropes
When you’re just starting out, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. You’re in a new place, surrounded by new faces, and you’ve got to figure out how to manage your classes, your studies, your social life, and perhaps for some, a part-time job. You’re in uncharted territory, and you’ve got major challenges to overcome. Thankfully, your academic advisor is there to guide you through your very first steps.
When you meet with your academic advisor for the first time, they can provide valuable information with regards to programs and facilities, faculty members, and the plethora of resources that your school offers. You should take advantage of that first meeting and ask as many questions as you can. Sure, you’ll be taking lots of classes and learning how to make your way all around the campus, but there’s more to college life than just grinding through your studies.
If you’ve watched Animal House one too many times, you might want to ask your advisor some questions about your school’s various rules and policies. These rules and policies exist in order to foster a safe environment that is conducive to learning, and we always want to make sure we’re on the lawful side of things. Additionally, every school has its own unique regulations with regards to switching or dropping classes, and your advisor can walk you through this process if necessary.
They’re Your Lifeline
Whenever you’re experiencing an issue, it helps to make an appointment with your advisor. If you’re having trouble with your classes or you’re unhappy with your current program track, your advisor can help you make the necessary changes without affecting your attendance or your grades. It can be difficult to nail down what you want to focus on, so if you’re ever questioning your decision with regards to your major, don’t wait-it’s far better to talk to your advisor and determine whether you’re on the right track than it is to stick with something that you’re not entirely sure about.
If you’re having issues with a professor or another student, don’t let it get to the point where it escalates. Your advisor will be able to remedy the problem through the proper channels. In the event you’re experiencing problems that fall far outside of your advisor’s abilities, they will be able to point you in the right direction. For example, if you’re completely overwhelmed and having difficulty paying attention or even making it to class, your advisor can refer you to a mental health professional.
They’ll Help You Succeed
The reason you’re in college in the first place is to learn the skills you need to make it in your career, and your advisor is there to help you see it through. The more about yourself that you share with your advisor, the more they’ll be able to help you make informed decisions about your major, and what career paths are most suitable for you.
In addition to helping you decide on your major, your advisor can alert you of any upcoming events that are relevant to your studies and your chosen career. Such events can provide students with the opportunity to make new connections, while feeling more in touch with the industry or practice they’re learning about. When it’s time to take on an internship, your advisor can help you conduct research into a variety of available programs so that you make the right decision.
Your academic advisor is there to help you create a roadmap towards your career. They can help you survive the day-to-day stresses of college, all while providing you with guidance and support as you realize your academic and professional goals. Typically, a student will meet with their advisor once a semester, but it pays to keep in contact and make more frequent appointments. Think of visiting your academic advisor as being similar to getting a tune up for your car-if you do it regularly, you’ll experience greater efficiency while maintaining your academic health.
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