A Guide to Getting Advice
As a fourth-year college student at the University of Florida, the best semesters were the ones in which I created my schedule and hand-picked each class. The goal for my undergraduate education has been to get the most from each class, choose professors that had the best rating, learn many new things, and meet great people along the way. Each semester, I wanted to craft my schedule to fit my goals while balancing extracurricular activities, work, and academic challenges. For any student that has a goal for their time in college, having an open line of communication with his or her academic advisor is a great start.
Getting an appointment with an academic advisor in large colleges such as the College of Liberal Arts and Science and Heavener College of Business can be difficult at times, however, taking these steps may help to get the most out of your appointment:
- Make a list of questions for your advisor. Once you finally have an appointment, do not waste this opportunity to ask as many questions as you feel necessary. No question is a dumb one, and more likely than not, it will lead to new ideas for your class schedule or a decision in a major or minor.
- Schedule a meeting with the advisor outside of add/drop (if possible-these hours are often cramped and the advisors will not be able to spend more than 15-30 minutes with you).
- Add/drop week is very hectic, and services are often first-come-first-serve so the lines can get long; however, if you have a pressing matter that cannot be resolved through an email, try to get in line at least 15 minutes before the doors open in the morning.
- Bring your planner; purchase one if you do not have one–organization is key!
- Understand what you want from your semester schedule-level of difficulty and amount of credits towards your major or explore picking up a minor.
- Be honest-your advisor is there to help you, but you know your study habits and learning capabilities best.
- Do your research! Know what type of classes you are interested in and what may be available to you. Also, some classes require pre-reqs so being well informed will help you and your advisor to make the best decisions for you.
- Plan to schedule a meeting with your advisor around mid-terms, and plan a follow-up meeting if necessary. This time of the year, you can discuss possible withdrawal from a class or dropping a class before the deadline. It is also a good time to assess your grades and seek help if you need to revamp your study habits/schedule–your advisor is there to help.
- Keep a folder with all your “official” papers in it and bring it to advising appointments. Your folder should include material of importance to you and:
- A copy of important dates (e.g., last day to drop a class without a grade, first date of eligibility for early registration for the upcoming semester).
- Any worksheets or checklists you and your adviser have been working on. It’s helpful to always have on these sheets a space for the date on which they were most recently updated.
- Your current degree audit, if available.
- A current resume that includes classes you’ve taken and extracurricular experiences. You would be amazed at how many of the things students do that would make them attractive to a graduate or professional school or to an employer that is not included on a resume just because the student forgot about them.
Keep an open mind!
Stella Fedele, HaveUHeard Intern