Don’t wait until you hit a roadblock to meet with a college advisor. Dedicated to student success, a college advisor has the inside track on class options, graduation requirements and special resources for students. Regular meetings are important and will help you stay on top of scheduling classes. Your academic advisor can also help you explore career options and, if you decide to change your major, provide assistance. If you’re wondering about how to contact your academic advisor, begin by sending an e-mail to request a meeting. When you go to the meeting, be prepared with questions and topics to discuss with your college advisor.

First Meeting With Your Academic Advisor

Your first meeting with your academic advisor will be focused on building a relationship and determining your course schedule. If you have selected a major, your advisor will show you the academic map and help you register for classes. It’s common to be undecided as a first year student. Often an academic advisor will suggest that new students take care of general education requirements, before digging deeper into a specific major. Use your first meeting with an advisor to discuss the academic options and create a schedule that is a good fit for your needs. Be honest, if you aren’t a morning person. You don’t want to schedule an 8:00 a.m. class, if you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Remember, your academic advisor is there to help you succeed.

Schedule Regular Academic Advising Check-ups

It’s important to have regular meetings with your academic advisor. You may be tempted to wait until the end of the semester to schedule a meeting, but push yourself to check-in with your advisor in the middle of the semester. The beginning and the end of the semester is the busiest time for academic advisors. If you pop in mid-way through the semester, you can have a relaxed conversation that helps you both get to know each other. Building a strong relationship will help you feel more comfortable be direct and honest. As you progress through your college career, your academic advisor will help you think of next steps and can serve as a reference for a job or graduate school.

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Seek Help When Necessary

It’s common to face personal, social and academic challenges in college. Don’t hesitate to talk to your academic advisor about issues that may be preventing you from succeeding in college. Academic advisors are professionals that know the resources and support systems that are available for students. It may be that you just need a listening ear. An academic advisor can serve as a sounding board and provide valuable advice. When you’re thinking about topics to talk to your college advisor about, write down a list of everything that is on your mind. You may not have time to cover it all, but if you prioritize the topics, you’ll be sure to cover those that are most important.

Discuss Minor and Major Changes

If you find yourself questioning your academic major, meet with your academic advisor first. Even if you think that you have it all figured out, it’s important to check with an expert, so that you don’t make a costly mistake. Similarly, even if you want to drop a class, it’s best to check in with your advisor. You may be able to do this over e-mail. Changing majors or dropping a class is common for college students, so academic advisors are ready and willing to talk you through the process.

Questions to Ask My Academic Advisor

It’s important to be prepared before meeting with your academic advisor. Here are a few common questions to consider:

During a first meeting with an academic advisor, clarify the protocol of your relationship.

Example:

  1. How often should I schedule a meeting with you?
  2. What is the role of an academic advisor?

Be sure to explore the details of your academic major.

Example:

  1. What are the required classes for my academic major?
  2. Do I have to earn a certain GPA to be admitted to my program?

Seek advice about general academic guidelines and class formats.

Example:

  1. What happens if I fail a class?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online classes?

Check in at the beginning of your senior year to ensure that you’re on track to graduate.

Example:

  1. Will I need a graduate degree to get a job in my field?
  2. Have I completed everything necessary to graduate?

About the Author

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.