Advisors help plan for future

Academic advisers: they bring order to chaos for hundreds of students each semester. Need help with your class schedule? They’re on it. Need help figuring out that double major? They’re on that too.

Graduating in four years makes for a tight schedule and students—if wanting to graduate on time—must be aware of their major requirements. Many classes have prerequisites to meet before students can get into them.

To help guide students through the process, Assistant Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, Andy Alt and Academic Advisers Laura Barned and Claire Hoover gave some advice.

“I’m your partner in crime,” Barned said. When it comes to academic advising, “we do this all day every day,” she added.

And be warned: “Any advice I give is not just me wasting my breath,” Hoover said.

  1. Look at the Degree Audit – “[Students] should come with an understanding of their program requirements…including some familiarity with their Degree Audits,” Alt said. “The more prepared a student can be, the more worthwhile that appointment will be.”
  2. Declare a major as soon as possible – “My goal is to have them declare [a major] in the first year,” Hoover said. The sooner students declare a major, the better the chances they have to graduate on time, she added.
  3. Fill out the Graduation Planner – On the University’s Academic Advising website there is a graduation planner students can use to plan their class schedules for all four years of their undergraduate degree. It could be useful during advising sessions.
  4. Schedule advising sessions early – “I’m meeting close to 400 students between now and October, [and I’m] booked three to four weeks out,” Hoover said. Academic advisers are often busy; as such students should schedule appointments with their advisers weeks in advance if they want to meet with them. Freshmen are required to meet with their advisers once a semester, Alt said.
  5. Ask questions – “Always come prepared with questions. Be ready to discuss anything career-wise or major-wise,” Hoover said.
  6. Keep your GPA up – “The things that break my heart are when students can’t complete their dream because of a GPA requirement,” Barned said. Some majors, like business, require certain GPA standards to be met. If students do not meet those standards by the time they declare a major, they will not be able to enter the program, she said.