The best part of college probably isn’t something you’ve even imagined.
Being excited to go to college normally means you picture yourself making friends in the Quad, cheering for your championship team, testing (maybe rejecting?) the food, and taking courses you actually like (Philosophy of Harry Potter, anyone?)
But you know what the best part of college is?
Meeting with your academic advisor.
It’s true! Your advisor plays a critical role in putting you on the path to success during and after graduation, to make sure you achieve your dreams.
Don’t believe me? Here are 5 undeniable reasons why:
Reason 1 - ALL THE OPTIONS
In high school, you dream about the opportunity to choose your own classes and get rid of the one-size-fits-all class schedule. The issue? College provides unlimited ‘sizes.’
Before even stepping foot on campus, you will receive a virtual or physical course catalogue with upwards for 50 (or more!) majors you can pick from, with options to add as many minors and certificate programs, as well as hundreds of classes. Even if you identified your perfect career when you were 12 (and most people do not!), there are still numerous ways to pursue that path.
“Being able to talk things out with someone who was extremely knowledgeable about higher education and career possibilities was life changing. That sounds dramatic but it is 100% true.”
- Sarah, an AH alum pursuing her bachelor’s degree at IUPUI.
Your academic advisor helps you gain critical direction by guiding you through major reflection and exploration before selecting a degree plan that works for your goals.
Reason 2 - So many forms. So many rules. HALP!
After you have narrowed down your major choices, the college system can still be intimidating. Each major has intricate requirements, plus there are general-education curriculum requirements (that vary by college!) It is important that you carefully build your schedule to avoid missing classes or taking unnecessary ones. (These mistakes will cost you valuable time and money!). This is especially true if you’re transferring.
“My schedule was so messed up...having that 1:1 advisor who knows you...is really such a benefit….she can help you focus and find things that work for you.”
- Lindsey, an Honors student at Pierce, said that her advisor Maria, helped fix her schedule.
Your advisor provides you focus by centering your schedule on what you need, when you need it. They’ll interpret the course catalogue and verify that your degree plan adheres to every regulation.
Reason 3 - How do I even college?
You mean you want me to present this Calculus proof? And then read Plato? And then design a community-changing service project?
In college, the expectations are higher-- for every assignment, and for every class. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of feeling unprepared, and even inadequate. Your task is remembering that you were accepted for a reason, and your are capable of working hard to achieve greatness.
“Academic advising has impacted me tremendously. It's great knowing whenever I'm heading into uncharted territory, I know there's not just one, but two heads trying to make sense of the world around me…..I couldn't be more confident in the path I'm on now!”
- McDaniel, an Honors student at Union County College.
Your academic advisor can support your confidence by reminding you of of your potential during the difficult moments and giving you a regular term reminder of your abilities.
Reason 4 - Independence is great! And so is getting a degree...
College is your chance to drive your own education and shape your own time. Shape your own schedule, select jobs to apply for, find ways to get involved, and even decide what you want to do and where to go between classes. With so many different choices and different areas of life to address (professional, academic, personal, financial), it’s all too easy to get off track- either with grades, or focus, goals, etc.
“In high school you have a lot of people around you….in college, you kind of feel by yourself.”
- Nick, an Honors student at Pierce College said his academic advisor was critical in providing support, and reminding him about his needs and responsibilities.
In addition to providing you guidance and confidence, your academic advisor can be your accountability partner. When you share your goals with your advisor, he or she can check in with you to make sure you’re on track.
Reason 5 - Advice for life.
With seemingly limitless opportunities and choices in college, it is important to find people that you can trust to offer objective insight on your decisions, and help you understand the decisions you’re making.
“Maria is the best advisor I could have ever wished for. She is not only an academic support but also a support for other aspects of my life. She is such a hard worker, and without her I wouldn't have come as far as I have.”
- An Honors student from Washington state found that his advisor, Maria, was so much more than an academic expert.
Your advisor can help by providing critical mentorship. Like most other relationships, you get out of this what you put into it.