Meeting With Your Academic Advisor
Last updated January 9, 2023
Forming a close working relationship with your academic advisor is a great way to set yourself up for success in college. They can help you choose the right classes, succeed in challenging classes, and connect you to great resources on campus, so it’s important to meet with your advisor as often as you can. In this piece, we’ll break down how to connect with your advisor, proactive actions to take, and the best questions to ask your academic advisor to make your time with them productive!
How to meet with an advisor
Every college & university is different, but typically at new student orientation you will be given instructions on when, where, and how to meet with an academic advisor. Some colleges will automatically assign students to an advisor, while others will require them to select their own. If you don’t receive information at orientation about when you’re supposed to meet with your advisor, you can visit your college’s website and type ‘Advising’ In the search bar. There is usually a ‘Schedule an Appointment’ or ‘Contact Us’ tab on your school’s advising homepage. If you are living on campus, your RA (aka Resident Advisor) can also be a great resource to ask about how appointments with advisors work. Once you have located contact information for your advisor, be sure to set up an appointment with them!
Before you meet
Make an appointment ASAP
At some colleges, meeting with your academic advisor is required in order to register for and enroll in classes for the following quarter or semester. Be sure to meet with them as soon as possible to avoid the chance of being waitlisted to any classes you need for your major. Even if meeting with your academic advisor isn't a requirement to register for classes, it's still helpful to meet with them before you register for every quarter/semester to make sure you're taking the right classes and are on track to graduate in time.
Show up prepared
Like any meeting, showing up prepared for your appointment with your academic advisor is the best way to go. Before you meet with them, take the time to explore your school's course schedule and pick classes that align with your interests, goals, and most importantly, your major. Choose a few backup classes too, in case any of your top classes fill up quickly. This is also a good time to ask more questions about majors and programs that you’re interested in, and the specific requirements to join those programs. Not only will being prepared for your meeting help it go much smoother (and maybe even faster), it'll also help you build a trusting relationship with your advisor - arguably one of the most important ones you'll have in college!
Questions to ask your academic advisor
“Can you tell me about this major I’m interested in?”
Your advisor should have a working knowledge of many different academic programs offered at your school - take advantage of this wealth of expertise and ask questions about the majors you're interested in. They can also refer you to another advisor or professor who can answer any specific questions you may have about a major or program.
“What classes do you think I should take? Are there any electives that past students have loved that I shouldn’t miss out on?”
Your advisor works with tons of students at your school! They'll likely have an understanding of what classes students have loved and valued in the past, and can give you tips on choosing electives and professors.
“What kind of careers have graduates of this major at my college gone into in the past?”
As you think about which major to pursue, it’s important to know what kinds of careers and job opportunities are typically offered to those with your degree. Your academic advisor should be able to provide information about what past alumni have gone on to do professionally after graduating. They can potentially even put you in touch with a recent alumni who's working in a profession that is of interest to you!
"Are there any internships available for students pursuing this major at my school?"
Having an internship in college is a valuable way to prepare you to apply to jobs after you graduate. Internships provide hands-on work experience AND an opportunity to network and find a mentor. You can also check in with your school's career center to learn about internship opportunities near you.
“Can we conduct a degree audit?”
When you have completed your first year of college, conducting a degree audit with your advisor will help you know if you're on track to complete your college’s & major's required credits and receive your degree. It's important to stay on track to graduate and be aware of the progress you're making towards completion.
“What can I do if I'm having a hard time in class?”
Your academic advisor is also your college coach. They are in your corner to support you every step of the way with the highs and lows that come with school. Ask them your options if you find yourself struggling in class. They understand external factors that occur beyond the classroom, and can also meet with you and your processor to build an improvement plan.
Other types of advisors on campus
Academic advisors are not the only types of advisors on college campuses. Other advisors you can find on campus include:
- Study abroad: Study abroad advisors work closely with students to study in another country and ensure they remain on track to still meet the college’s credit requirements while doing so.
- Career center: Advisors in your school’s career center support students in career readiness, finding employment opportunities, and how to transfer all the knowledge into a career once you graduate.
- Clubs: Advisors for clubs are typically college staff or faculty who support student organizations by providing guidance, feedback, & have similar interests as the students participating in the club.
Have any questions about how to work with your academic advisor? Need to speak to one of Get Schooled's college advisors? Click below to start texting us!