Why Advise?: MSUM begins advising, and you need to prepare

By: Geneva Nodland, nodlandge@mnstate.edu


As you may have seen in your email inbox, advising is beginning starting Oct. 1. This is not something you want to trash in your email and forget about, but it’s not something to fret over either.

Advising can be a daunting task, making a student feel intimidated or overwhelmed; if this is you, know that you are not alone. Students and professors alike are extremely busy during this time, and adding advising to the list of errands can cause a feeling of discouragement. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that much work.

To break it down and help with the stress, there are a few things you should keep in mind to prepare for advising this year.

Know your advisor and schedule a time to meet.

As it mentioned in the Dragon Digest announcement, you are able to see who your advisor is in your Degree Audit Report (DAR). Different professors have different ways to go about scheduling a meeting time; some post signup sheets outside their doors and others prefer to decide a time over email.

Prepare as best you can.

If you have met with your advisor before, you may know how he/she prefers to run these meetings. But there are three things you should have prepared no matter who your professor is:

1)      Know where you are at – academically and mentally.

2)      Have an idea of what courses you want to take.

3)      Make a list of things you want to discuss.

Knowing where you stand mentally is just as important as knowing where you stand academically. Do you like the courses you have been in? Are you interested in other areas? Is the major you are in still your interest? This is connected with your mental attitude and position. If the interest isn’t there, the drive to succeed won’t be there either, which could cost you a grade.

Having an idea of the courses you want to be taking links with where you are at academically. Communicating with your advisor and telling him/her whether you want to take more classes in certain subjects is important in the process of planning the upcoming semester and future semesters.

Jot down a few other things to talk about during the meeting. Maybe you want to know more about how to get involved with organizations with your major, or know about a certain class offered. Showing this effort will not only keep the meeting on task and make sure nothing is forgotten about, but it will prove to your advisor that the meeting is worth both of your time.

Utilize campus resources like Schedule Planner.

If you have not yet used Schedule Planner, stop what you’re doing and check it out. You can access it through your eServices account, logging in using your Star ID and password. Then you are able to create schedules by adding different courses. Upon choosing your desired courses, you are able to generate different schedules that include the various day and time options. It is completely customizable and easy to read as you can physically see the schedule.

Realize your advisor is your friend.

Finally, remember that your advisors are there to help you. You are able to talk to them about school, interests and concerns. They should want to support you and be a confidante for you in aspects of your schooling.  You may not be able to take class because of a work conflict or other personal issues, and you should have the ability to discuss that with your advisor. If you don’t build that relationship with them, you risk spending years in school not reaching your full potential because you’re not employing possible resources. If you can’t develop this connection, maybe you don’t click and that’s ok – you can always change your advisor. Chances are if you feel this way, your advisor does as well, and you both would probably agree that you need to try to develop that connection elsewhere.

Whatever your situation, it is crucial to your academic life that you attend and take away from your advising meetings. Although you should not stress about the meeting itself, don’t ignore the importance of it; odds are you may just find a lifelong friend along the way.

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