Leslie Alston is a Communications and Media professional. She attended Pace University in New York City where she received a BA in Communications Studies and Women and Gender Studies. She currently lives in New York City, enjoying the hustle and all the city has to offer.
You’re a college freshman in a sea of hundreds and for some schools even thousands of students lost and just as confused as you are. You are wandering around excited and interested in the parties, clubs, organizations, Greek life and everything else under the sun, that school can become less of a priority. This new found freedom forces you into a world, unlike high school with numerous rules, regulations, teacher, coaches and advisors after you and guiding you. College opens doors for mistakes, new experiences, failure, success and accountability for your actions. To avoid floating around in the abyss of college, reach out to someone who knows and can help, your advisor!
An advisor is there to help students achieve their goals and lead them through the next four years, academically and socially. It is extremely important to get to know your advisor and use them as a resource to strive and find guidance.
Often students do not take advantage of their advisor and the services they can provide because they are not forced to go see them. It is your responsibility to reach out and get to know your advisor. Although your advisor is there to help you, it is not like middle or high school where they go out of their way to make appointments with you.
The first step to using this resource is to do some research and find out which advisor would be useful to you based on your major, interest, and classes, then send an introductory email asking to meet with them to discuss your future time at your institution. When scheduling an appointment with your advisor set at least an hour aside to meet, this allows for the discussion to flow and not feel rushed. The longer you have with your advisor the more likely you are to get everything you possibly can out of the meeting.
Before meeting with your advisor, prepare for it. Plan out what you would like to achieve in the meeting, whether it be guidance on what major to choose, electives to take or even the next dorm you should live in, figure out the point of your meeting. A good way to prepare is to write down any and all questions and concerns you have for you advisor. This is the best way to ensure that you do not leave the meeting with any unanswered questions.
After your meeting take some time to decompress, depending on your major, life, stress, etc. it can be overwhelming, so it is best to take a moment to process and fully digest everything that was discussed and topics you missed.
Once a few weeks have passed and you’ve put your advisor words of advise into action, make a follow up meeting with your advisor. It is a good idea to set up a follow up meeting, just to make sure you are on the right track!
College Tip #1: Remember advisors’ office hours tend to be jam packed during the end of the semester and when it’s time to pick classes, so be proactive and meet with your advisor beforehand!