Preparation for an academic advising appointment should be taken at least as seriously as preparing for a job interview. You are, after all, going to be discussing your plans and your future. Many facets of the preparation process are relatively easy to accomplish and require only common courtesy and a little bit of “soul searching.” Here I have comprised a list of five tips to consider when preparing for an academic advising appointment that will make your meeting run smoothly and productively.

Schedule early.

While this may seem too obvious for some, I feel it is still worth discussing. Advisors are busy, but they have made available numerous open office hour slots for you in the weeks leading up to registration. It is in your best interest to sign up early, as this will ensure you an advising appointment that fits your schedule and will allow you to complete advising before class registration starts. Delaying your registration will probably result in missing out on your preferred class times and perhaps even some classes altogether, throwing a curve ball into your semester plans.

Be on time.

Once you have successfully scheduled an appointment, make sure you actually attend it. Better yet, show up on time or even a few minutes early. This will ensure that the advising session will start on a positive note and will finish on time. Rushing through an advising appointment because you showed up late disallows a proper discussion about your future and is disrespectful toward your advisor. If you cannot attend, notify your advisor so that someone else can use that slot.

Be ready to discuss your grades.

During the advising appointment, at some point, your advisor will ask you about your grades. Be up-front and ready to discuss them, as the advisor knows them already. This demonstrates your preparedness and understanding of your successes and struggles. Your grades do not define you, but they do carry value when deciding future plans.

Bring your career plans.

Since you are preparing for an advising appointment, it is great to come with an updated career plan, both short-term and long-term. Study in advance about possible professional or graduate schools you might attend after college or research the job market for possible jobs after graduation. This is especially important if you are a junior or senior, but even sophomores and freshmen should ponder their future careers and what steps to take to get closer to their dream careers.

Have a next semester plan ready.

One of the main objectives of the advising appointment is to have a great plan for the upcoming semester. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to pull out your degree plan and update it with recent courses taken and any transfer credits. Based on your degree plan and courses still needed, come up with a class plan for the next semester before the advising appointment. Make sure the course times fit and make adjustments based on your work schedule and other activities.

Final Words

Academic advising appointments are extremely important to your future, as career plans will be reviewed and set in these meetings. These appointments give you great interactions with an expert in the field who is a valuable resource to you. Coming on time and prepared for these meetings sets a positive environment conducive for productive career planning. Furthermore, make sure to have some questions for your advisor as he/she will be happy to answer your questions or help you find resources that can point you in the right direction.

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