The first few weeks of school can bring on a whirlwind of emotions, changes, and opportunities. If you need a hand in sorting these things out, look no farther than your academic advisor!
An academic advisor’s #1 priority is to support students. At UMBC, we believe in this so much that every student is assigned an advisor and is expected to meet with that individual at least once a semester.
You may have heard a rumor that you can only meet with your advisor when it’s time to register for next semester’s classes. Consider that rumor “squashed!” The best advising experience occurs when you build a long-term relationship with your academic advisor; and this is less likely to happen if you only see your advisor twice a year.
You may be thinking, “okay, but what makes academic advising so important?” We’re glad you asked!
1.Let’s be real— with everything going on in your busy college schedule, you probably don’t have too many opportunities to stop and think about what your university experience actually means. Advising appointments are your chance to intentionally think through your goals and any academic decisions that you need to make.
2.Advisors help you navigate campus. Part of our job is to become well-versed in the campus community— to know people, policies, and offices that can assist you. And if we don’t know the answer ourselves, advisors can always point you toward someone who does.
3.Advisors help you organize. Whether it’s organizing your class schedule, your long-term academic plan for your three majors and two minors (this a bit exaggerated, but you get the idea), or building a time management plan for the semester, your advisor can help. Organization is key to navigating the academic terrain at UMBC.
4.Advisors are in your corner. Known for being empathetic and having good listening ears, they want you to succeed at UMBC and achieve your goals. Based on their insider knowledge, advisors can suggest tailored strategies for your particular situation.
So as you prepare to meet with your academic advisor this fall, consider these simple tips to get more out of your advising appointments:
1.Come prepared with questions/topics to discuss. You are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your education. You will get much more out of your advising appointments if you make an effort to plan ahead and discuss things that are important to you.
2.Be open and honest. The more you share with your advisor, the better equipped they will be to help you. Also, don’t hesitate to share non-academic information about yourself with your advisor to provide a larger understanding of your whole university experience.
3.If you need something from your advisor, such as a form signed, and you are up against a deadline, schedule your appointment well in advance of the deadline. Advisors will not always be able to assist you last minute due to other time demands.
4.Take notes during your appointment. This gives you ownership of your advising experience. It will help you remember important information your advisor shared with you, as well as remind you of any follow-up items you need to complete.
Finally, just as UMBC has a diverse student body, we have a diverse group of academic advisors. Some advisors are full-time, whose main job is to advise. Other advisors are part-time advisors in addition to their faculty positions on campus.
Your major department will assign you an advisor by mid-semester. If you do not know who your advisor is, here is a link to departmental advising for all majors:
The person listed for your major department is the advising coordinator/contact. This person can let you know who your assigned advisor is in the department or assign you an advisor.
We hope you enjoy working with your advisor this year and building this important relationship!
For More Information:
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