I can’t help it. I’m going to nag you about seeing your adviser. Over and over again. After all, I was a college adviser. Remember? As an adviser, I’ve seen countless examples of how students could’ve saved themselves a lot of trouble if they had just sat down and talked to someone about their academic decisions. So let me give you a list of reasons of why I think it’s important to visit your adviser at least once each semester. I can’t promise I won’t nag you about it again, but at least you’ll know where I’m coming from.
1. Get Help Scheduling Your Classes
If your school doesn’t require upperclassmen to obtain an adviser’s signature before registering for classes, you may just skip the hassle of taking an hour to get some academic assistance. That hour is well worth your time. I recommend making an appointment to meet with your adviser in order to go over your proposed schedule every semester.
2. Make Sure You’re Meeting Prerequisites
Prerequisites are the classes you need before taking another class, right? If you neglect to schedule a required course, you’re bound to encounter frustration when registering. Avoid the drama by stopping by your adviser to talk about your desired class schedule.
3. Avoid Overload
I’m talking course overload and life overload. Many times students want to take on too many classes at once just to get them over with or because they underestimate the time commitment. Be realistic about your responsibilities. Talking to an adviser will help you to guage the time commitment involved and difficulty of certain courses so that you can make a more informed decision.
4. Assess Your Readiness
Are you ready to take on all of the classes you’re signing up for? I used to advise lots of students who wanted to enter our college’s nursing program. The program had extremely high GPA requirements for acceptance. It also required students take Anatomy and Physiology, the hardest course in our catalog. I almost always advised students to take Biology 101 first in order to get a refresher in biology concepts to prepare for the harder course.
5. Get Help When You’re Struggling
Even the best of students encounter a tough course or two in their academic career. If you find yourself struggling to keep up in a class, first talk to your professor. Maybe he or she can give you some guidance. It’s also a good idea to talk to an adviser who can help you get a tutor and let you know about your options.
6. Decide Whether To Drop a Class
Sometimes it may be your best bet to drop a course. But there are often certain ramifications to dropping a course. It could affect your GPA if you drop past a certain date or even cause you to be ineligible for financial aid. Don’t drop a class without talking to an adviser and your instructor first.
7. Get Help Choosing a Major
An adviser can help you to discover a potential major or can at least direct you to a career counselor. You’ll want to do some research before deciding on a lifelong career path!
8. Learn Some Study Tips
Most colleges offer courses on study skills and transitioning to college. If you aren’t enrolled in one, you can always see an adviser for some tips to help you study more effectively.
9. Avoid Taking Classes You Don’t Need
I’ve encountered tons of students who’ve finally broken down to get scheduling help only to find they’ve taken one or more classes they didn’t even need. An academic adviser can help you navigate your curriculum and take only the classes you need.
10. Lessen Your Stress
Making an appointment to see an adviser can help you to avoid lots of hassles and stress. They’re experts on your school’s academic programs and policies. Let them help you figure things out if you’re having difficulty.
11. Get The Classes You Want
An adviser can help you to get into the classes you need by alerting you to registration deadlines and giving you the heads-up about different instructors and their teaching styles. They can also explain what a class is all about if you’re unsure.
12. Keep Your Financial Aid
This one’s so important. Your adviser can help you figure out the steps to obtaining financial aid and inform you of policies that could cause you to lose your aid, like keeping up a minimum GPA and carrying a required number of credits.
13. Make Sure You Meet Graduation Requirements
Your adviser can do a degree audit for you to make sure you’re on the right track toward graduation. This is an important step so that you don’t miss anything. You don’t want to come across any surprises the semester before your intended graduation date.
There are so many reasons to see an academic adviser. You may be assigned a particular adviser, but if you’re not comfortable with that person, go to your school’s advisement center. Most colleges have a team of professional advisers who are there to help you and may be more knowledgeable about general academic policies than faculty advisers who may be the best source for information on your major and its coursework. Don’t go it alone.