Ugh, advising meetings. Despite your advisor’s best efforts to make it a good experience, not only do advising meetings signify the beginning of the end of the semester (Finals! Research papers! Moving out of your dorm!), but with course scheduling for the next semester they can be a hassle and a half in their own right.
Even though I did not enjoy my first advising experience, with more preparation and tweaks to my approach my most recent advising meeting was relaxed, productive, and (dare I say) enjoyable! I was able to plan out my next semester, get transfer courses approved, and ask about recommendations for electives. With that in mind, here are a few things that I adopted in my approach to advising meetings that will hopefully make your next meeting great:
1. Do most of the heavy lifting.
Whether you go to a small school or a huge school, you are not the only person that your advisor is advising. He/she probably has hundreds of other students to worry about and a limited time frame; therefore, it is much smarter to save yourself and your advisor time by hatching a game plan before the meeting.Once you schedule your advising meeting, look at your course guidelines and try to come up with a tentative schedule for your next semester. It doesn’t have to be your final plan, but coming into the meeting with a blueprint for what you want out of your next semester will be beneficial for both parties because you have something to work off of. If you need help picking out courses for next semester, check out this guide to creating the perfect class schedule by Jessica Slaughter!
2. Be on time.
As mentioned in the last tip, your advisor is very busy. Between meeting up with the hundreds of people in your major and working on the course offerings for next semester, they may even be professors or researchers. Meetings in my department aren’t designed to last more than ten minutes at a time simply for this reason!
Though not all professors are known for showing up to meetings on time, it’s probably in your best interest to show up to be punctual. It’s likely that your timeliness will leave a great impression on your advisor, and it will set your meeting off on the right foot.
3. Just ask!
Remember that your advisors likely work in your major’s department and are familiar with the faculty, past students’ concerns and issues, and the courses offered, making them the perfect resource for any problems you may be having at school. Don’t be afraid to ask about electives, professors, recommendation letters, study abroad, or anything of that sort. Their job is to help you, but they can’t offer you any help if you don’t ask the right questions!
Make sure to write them down onto a sticky note [if you couldn’t tell by now, I love sticky notes!] or in a notebook and bring that with you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to send a follow-up email to my advisor asking her one or two questions I forgot to ask! Writing down the questions will help you make the most of your meeting while also saving time.
4. Stop by more than once.
Don’t think that your semester-ly advising meetings should be the only time you see your advisor – it’s always a good idea to develop good relationships with faculty at your college, especially with someone who is so closely involved with your journey to your degree! I was lucky enough to have my advisor for a professor last semester, and it helped me feel more comfortable asking her questions and emailing her whenever I have a concern.
This advice may be more geared towards next semester, but take the time to pop in every once and a while to say hello to your advisor, and schedule a meeting if you have any questions before the advising period begins. If you’re just starting college in the fall, stop by within the first few weeks of the semester and introduce yourself! These little things will help you build a relationship with your advisor, and make advising meetings much less intimidating.
Although advising meetings might not be the highlight of the end of your semester, they are pretty important and highly recommended for making sure that you finish your degree on schedule. I know I never thought I would enjoy them, but after a little bit of work and applying these tips I’ve been able to make them as productive and enjoyable as possible.
What are your advising tips? Do you go to see your advisor before class selection?