Professors and academic advisers are here to help you succeed
July 17, 2018
At a school as large as the University, it’s far too easy for students to avoid making connections with their professors and academic advisers. Oftentimes, approaching these people can be intimidating and many students feel like they are better off going unnoticed. That connection might even seem unnecessary.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Advisers and professors are invaluable resources and having them in your corner is vital to your success as a student. When they know who you are, they can help you thrive.
Professors often teach in large lecture halls or have many different groups of students, so it’s difficult for them to get to know their students on a personal level. Students should put effort in scheduling time out of their weeks for office hours from the beginning of the semester and plan to attend regularly. This way, office hours are a part of your routine; if any issues arise, there’s no excuse not to take the time to go and seek help. Just make sure you come prepared with specific questions about the course material and the patience to deal with other students who might also be looking for help.
Maintaining a strong relationship with your academic adviser throughout your time as a student is also vital. You never know when a problem might come up that can’t be solved without their assistance. It’s much easier for them to do their job successfully if they are aware of who you are and what your situation is like.
Make a point of seeking the advice of your adviser at least once a semester to discuss the progress of your degree. It’s easy to think you know exactly what classes you need to be taking, only to discover you’re off track. But academic advisers know exactly what you need to do in order to graduate and can help steer you in the right direction — no matter how far off you might get. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them with questions over the course of a semester if you are struggling with a class or wanting to change programs.
By having a strong relationship with your adviser, they’ll be able to help you make the most informed decision to deal with your situation. If you find you are having a trouble getting a hold of an adviser in a time of need, be patient but persistent. They have many students seeking their help at once and sometimes matters go unnoticed if they aren’t frequently followed up on.
Above all, remember that your professors and advisers are here to help you succeed, and not to make your life more difficult. But in order for them to provide the necessary tools, it takes some effort on the part of the student. Advocate for yourself and take initiative.
Katie is a junior in LAS.