Key questions to ask your academic adviser
August 1, 2017
Coming into college, many freshmen will likely have a flurry of questions. Whether it’s how to balance your academic and social life, how to improve your grades or how to keep on track with your studies, academic advisers are a vital resource for students.
It’s important for students to take the time to establish a connection with their adviser to help them out with any questions that may arise throughout their college careers.
Here are a few questions new students may already be wanting to ask:
How do I register for classes?
New students are sent out an email to their myIllini accounts about when they are eligible to register for classes. Each student has their own time ticket that lets them know when they are eligible to register.
Freshmen often meet with their advisers before the semester starts to pick their courses.
During that meeting, it’s important to discuss the type of workload a student can handle, as well as what type of requirements they need for their major and/or minor.
How do I make adjustments to my schedule?
During the initial meeting, a student’s adviser should help walk them through the Course Explorer and teach them how to navigate it and search for courses. Changes can be made to students’ schedules well into the semester. But it’s important to know the dates to finalize all changes so no marks are made on students’ records.
What classes do you recommend?
It’s smart to ask advisers for advice on courses you’re curious about taking. If a student is having an hour-heavy semester, it’s wise to ask an adviser which courses have more intense workloads than others.
They can also offer feedback that other students have given them – positive and negative. Also, they can let you know what some interesting, fun and easier classes are if students are trying to fill up hour requirements.
What if I’m unsure about my major/minor?
Advisers are an especially important tool if students are unsure of what exactly they want out of their education. They can suggest classes that can enable students to peruse a variety of subjects and get a basic sense of what other possible majors/minors would be like.
It’s also important to bring up the possibility of changing a major/minor with your adviser to make sure all of the hours you’ve already completed can count for some degree of credit toward another major/minor. It is also key to openly discuss your interests and passions so they can help you start down a path toward the education you want.
How do I look for scholarships and internships?
Some academic advisers often send out emails to their students about opportunities for students that are happening within their department.
But, it’s also wise to make an appointment with your adviser to directly ask those questions, and they can help you figure out where to look from there. They can help you determine what type of scholarships you would be eligible for, and where to look for internships, both on and off campus.
How are you doing?
Your academic adviser should be a familiar and friendly face you see around campus. Asking them how they’re doing, what they’re interested in, what their experience has been like at the University and so on can help to strengthen your connection with them. They are here to help you along your college career, academically and beyond.
Vivienne is a junior in LAS.