Effective Ways to Prepare for Advisement

Students returning from spring break have a little over a month left of this semester which also means the start of academic advising. Academic advising allows students to plan out their academic schedules for the next semester and following semesters. If you need a little help to prepare for your advising appointments, here are a few tips:

Schedule a time to meet with your advisor. Professors usually have a sign-up sheet outside their office. If none of the time choices your advisor listed can work for you, email or meet with them to work on a time that can work for you. Advising appointments are generally short, so you don’t have to stay for a long time.

Bring in the necessary paperwork or documents. For the appointment, you need to bring the advising pre-planning worksheet. This is a worksheet that is created and developed by the Advising Assistance Center. This document helps students figure out where they are in terms of their GPA and also serves as a checklist of what to bring to the advising appointment. It is also a document students can use to write down their proposed courses to take as well as alternatives.

Students need to bring their degree evaluation which can be found on RAIL. The degree evaluation shows what courses the student has taken and what courses they still need to take. If you have questions on how to fill out the advising pre-planning worksheet or how to find the degree evaluation, please visit the Advising Assistance Center which is located downstairs in the Scarborough Library.

Write out a list of courses that you want or need to take. Students can view the fall 2014 class schedule on RAIL on the Shepherd homepage under the calendars tab. Students should figure out what courses they need to take for the following semester and write them down. Students may choose to take general courses needed for graduation or classes in their major or minor. Advisors may suggest courses they feel the student is ready to take. Students can take any number of credits; however, they need to take at least 12 to be considered a full-time student.

Sign up for classes as soon as you can. When the appointment ends, the advisor will give the student a number and a time for them to register. It is important to sign up for those classes when your time comes up. If you register late, your classes could be filled. If you have class or work around that time, register as soon as you are finished

Be sure you have alternate courses or backup classes. If you sign up for a course and it is full or closed, you should have alternatives. It could be the same class in a different section or time. It could be a different class at the same time. If you absolutely need that course, you can ask the instructor for an override. You should also ask your advisor about situations like these.

Do not get stressed out! For freshmen or students new to Shepherd University, academic advising can be a different experience. However, it is very routine and easy to get used to after a semester or two. For Josh Oster, a senior at Shepherd, he doesn’t find it to be too hectic. “For me, there isn’t a whole lot that proves to be stressful about advisement. Other than going through the bureaucratic paperwork that is needed, the process itself is rather straightforward.”

Carrie Messenger, an assistant professor of English, listed the Advising Assistance Center as a vital resource for students. “The advisors are experts about majors but not necessarily about other departments. The AAC knows about the whole university. They are incredibly helpful.”

If you have questions about advising, scheduling or classes, talk to your advisor or visit the Advising Assistance Center. You can also go to their website at  www.shepherd.edu/aacweb/.

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