How to Utilize Your Academic Advisor

By Victoria Robertson on March 12, 2019

When it comes to college, there are a ton of resources available to students that they aren’t even aware of. One of these resources? Academic advisors.

Academic advisors are individuals solely meant to ensure students choose the classes that are right for them while also meeting their graduation requirements. They can also be helpful in assisting with future career aspirations, graduate school plans and any other academic-related activity that you may have questions about.

So what is the best way to utilize this resource? Here are six ways that you can utilize your academic advisor.

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1. Picking Courses

When it comes to picking courses for the semester ahead of you, remember that you don’t have to do this alone. If you have any questions or hesitations when it comes to picking a class schedule, your academic advisor is in your corner to assist.

They can not only tell you the courses that are required, but they can also help you to pick a schedule that works for you and even recommend classes that would be helpful to your program. If you have any questions about courses that are right for you, they should be the first stop on your list.

2. Graduate School Planning

Planning on attending graduate school? Again, this is a daunting task when taken on alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re planning on attending grad school, you can speak with an academic advisor to plan for that path.

They can help you early on in picking courses that will stand out, assist you with signing up for GRE tests and practice courses and even help you when it comes to the application process. An academic advisor, in this respect, is a fantastic guide.

3. Graduation Requirements

There are plenty of times in which a student plans to graduate but, at the last minute, realizes they are missing a class that’s required for graduation. When you meet regularly with your academic advisor, this isn’t likely to happen.

Your advisor can help you to stay on track with your graduation requirements from the get-go, assisting you with signing up for elective courses while also ensuring you sign up for all the core courses that are necessary to obtain your degree. This way, you won’t overlook something and you’ll be on track the whole way through.

4. Career Planning

Just because they are an academic advisor doesn’t mean their assistance stops there. Academic advisors are trained with your specific major, so they know which opportunities are available for you out there.

For that reason, they are a fantastic resource when you are planning for a career. They can tell you which courses will be helpful, which will put you ahead of the competition and they can even suggest internships that would be useful to your career plans. These are all great things to have on your side, so speak with your academic advisor ASAP about what the options available to you are.

5. Job Application Questions

Are you already at the application process? Not a problem! Applying to a new job is a scary thought, but exciting at the same time, and an academic advisor can help you to make the decision that’s best for you.

They can assist you with job applications, recommending resume workshops and interviewing tips, but they can also assist you with finding positions to apply to, such as those specific to your program and expertise. Their knowledge bank is vast, and it’s a great resource available to you if you choose to use it.

6. Advanced Coursework

Last, but not least, many college students aren’t actually aware that there are honors and advanced level coursework options available to them. Graduating with honors is a lot of extra work, but it can be done, and taking some advanced coursework is a great starting point.

You can speak to your academic advisor about the options available to you when it comes to advanced coursework, and this will help to set you on the right path and ensure you aren’t setting yourself back in your decisions. They will be able to tell you what they think you can handle, so use them to help you make the decision that’s right for you.

Again, college is hard enough as it is, so why go through it alone? Academic advisors are there to help you; it’s their job. So pay attention to the resources available to you on campus and use this one as often as possible. Not only will they ensure you meet your goals, but they may even help you to set and achieve goals that you would have never thought of without them.

Your academic advisor is there for you, so you should certainly use them as a resource, not just in your freshman year, but throughout your college experience.

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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