Your academic advisor is a vital member of your support team at UMBC. Often your advisor is a professor in your major department, but could be a professional advisor (full-time advisor). If you have any doubt at all about WHO your advisor is, here is a link to Departmental advising info for all majors:
The person listed as “advising coordinator” or “advising contact” can help you find out who your advisor is, or assign you an advisor. By the way, the advisor pictured with this article is one of UMBC’s finest—Dr. Carolyn Forestiere, faculty member in the Political Science Department.
WHEN would it make sense to see your advisor?
The short answer is: EARLY! You may see your advisor as early as October 10th for matters related to Spring 2017 registration.
Are there things other than registration you should be discussing with your advisor?
Absolutely yes, although sometimes students forget to ask for help in these other areas. Other topics include such “important but not urgent” issues as:
Is this the right major for me?
Which track or concentration within the major is best for me?
Should I pursue a minor or certificate in addition to my major?
How do I become involved in undergrad research, become an undergrad teaching assistant, formulate a study abroad plan consistent with my major, or find relevant internship opportunities?
Will my advisor help me if I encounter academic or other difficulties?
Yes, your academic advisor is someone you will want to consult if you are struggling with a course or courses (in addition to the course instructors). You advisor may have very helpful suggestions, such as study strategies, schedule adjustments, ways to get help from tutors or advanced students, and more. Academic advisors can also make referrals to offices on campus such as Residential Life, Counseling Services, or the Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising. Academic advisors can be your first point of contact for many issues that arise for undergraduate students.
TIPS TO ENSURE YOUR NEXT ADVISING SESSION IS ENGAGING AND REWARDING:
- Make an appointment to see your advisor rather than “dropping by” their office. Most advisors at UMBC wear many hats (teaching, researching, writing grants, serving on committees, etc.) while also managing a considerable number of advisees. Making an appointment not only gives you time to prepare, it also extends a professional courtesy to your advisor so he or she can better prepare to help you as well. Sending an e-mail to make an appointment usually works although each department may have its own rituals and procedures.
- BE PREPARED. Know what you want to discuss. Review your degree audit, transfer credit report in advance and go with a list of topics/questions to cover. Moreover, you may also want to use our new Academic Pathways resource for comprehensive academic planning. If you are going to discuss your schedule, take a list of courses you are interested in. And be ready to make updates on any outstanding questions you might have been investigating from any previous advising meetings.
- Learn more about the shared partnership between advisors and students.
- Recognize the competitive advantages of compliance with UMBC's degree completion policy.
- Always, always keep your appointments! Make this one of your very highest priorities!
- Listen carefully and take notes! Never go to an advising session without the capacity to take notes, whether with pen and paper or on laptop.
- Turn your cell phone off when talking to your advisor.
Like all important relationships, your advising relationship will benefit from purposeful nurturing. If you are prepared, attentive, and keep your appointments, this will go a very long way toward fostering a strong bond with your academic advisor that will lead to a very productive exchanges:
EXTRA CREDIT DISCUSSION QUESTION
What have you done to make your interactions with your academic advisor pleasant and productive? Share your tips in the Comments section below!