How to make the most of your academic advisor

Sep 28, 2017

It can be complicated to figure out everything necessary to complete your degree, but taking advantage of the opportunities provided is key to a successful stint in school. Fortunately, you have a powerful resource on your side to help simplify the process and make it all possible: your academic advis0r.

An academic advisor is a coach and a counselor who can help guide you through the education process from your pre-enrollment through your graduation day — even beyond. They can assist you with everything from registering for courses to complying with school policies. They’re who you go to see when you have a question about your credits or you want to change a course.

These tips will help you make the most of your time with your advisor:

Come prepared. Your advisor can do more to help you when you’re proactive and conscientious about fulfilling your responsibilities. Remember that your advisor wants to help you, but they may have many students assigned to them and need you to make the best use of their time. Read all the materials available to you including your course catalog and school website thoroughly so you can find information on your own. Figure out what questions you want to ask your advisor ahead of time.

To make meetings with your advisor more productive, check their office hours, and try to schedule time in advance. And, always bring a notebook or use your phone to write down your questions and record your advisor’s comments so you won’t forget anything.

Communicate openly. Just like any relationship, you need to be forthcoming so your advisor has the information they need to understand your interests and goals to help you create your own personal education plan. Let them know what you want to accomplish, as well as any issues that might affect your academic performance. If you do run into any obstacles, consult your advisor promptly. Quick action can help you to stay on track and maintain as many options as possible.

Look ahead. The way you interact with your advisor is an excellent learning opportunity for future professional relationships. To succeed these days, you need to be able to articulate your needs, advocate for yourself, and ask for help when you need it. These are all skills you can practice when working with your advisor. Plus, your advisor may remain a valuable contact in your network who you can continue to ask for advice, or they may help prepare you for working with future mentors in your career path.

At some point, you may even find yourself taking on an advising and mentoring role with less experienced colleagues. If you pay attention to how your advisor helps you, you can pick up practical lessons on how to support others, which is highly gratifying and good for your career.

Getting a college degree can be challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. At Chattanooga College, our knowledgeable and caring advisors are eager to assist you in pursuing your dreams and preparing for a career in a field you’ll love. Contact us to find out more about our popular programs including Dental Assisting, Medical Assisting, Cosmetology, and Computer Programming.

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