At most schools, in order to register for the next term, you are required to see your advisor. For a lot of folks, this is the only time they’ll see their advisor. Some people are going to dread it, some will look forward to it, and for some of you, this will be your first time ever meeting your advisor, and you might be nervous, not knowing what to expect. If you fall into the last category, don’t despair – I’ve been there – on both sides of that coin and I have some ideas on what to expect from your registration meeting with your advisor.
What will my advisor and I talk about?
The main focus for a registration meeting is to discuss what you should take for the next semester and inform you on the registration process. You’ll most likely discuss your major, any holds or other barriers that might prevent you from registration and how to navigate the technology to get registered. You will also probably get into a discussion about your major, so if you have any concerns about your choice of major, now’s the time to speak up.
How should I prepare for this meeting?
- It’s a good idea to look at your degree audit (if available at your school). Your degree audit basically lays out all of your requirements for your degree and shows you your progress toward fulfilling those requirements. If your school doesn’t have a degree audit system, take a look in the academic catalog, print that page and check off requirements that you think you’ve completed.
- Have an idea of the courses you want to take next semester. In my post about deciding what you should take next semester, the basic premise of registration planning revolves around the comparison of met requirements to unmet requirements. Pay attention to general education requirement, major pre-requisites/requirements and course pre-requisites. Your advisor/major may offer flow charts to aid in this process. You should have a list of about 5-6 courses with a couple of alternates.
- Develop a mock schedule. Take a look at the course schedule to see if the courses you need are offered in the upcoming term and also when and where they’re being offered. You may find the method demonstrated in the previous post where we discussed how to develop a mock/trial schedule helpful.
- Do you have questions about your major or your degree requirements? This is the perfect opportunity to ask them! You definitely want to write them down so you can add notes during your conversation with your advisor. Writing down your questions also helps keep you from forgetting any questions you want to ask.
- Bring something to write on and write with. You’re going to learn a lot in your time with your advisor. Dates, websites, deadlines – it’s all too much to remember. Come prepared with writing instruments and you won’t have to rely on your memory. You might use the Taking Care of Business worksheet to help.
- Use technology wisely. If there’s something really neat online that you want to show your advisor, you might want to consider bringing your laptop or tablet. However, make sure to put your phone on silent so that you can focus on your conversation.
Why should you see your advisor?
As you’ve probably realized, there’s a lot going on on campus – socially and academically. Even if you’re really plugged in to what’s going on, there’s still a chance you might miss something or not be in the know about a new program or service. Your advisor can help plug you into these new opportunities.
The relationship with your advisor is probably the closest relationship you’ll have while at school, except for maybe your social group or instructors. Your advisor is kind of like your home base, where you can go to get information without the constant fear of bad news or judgement. It’s nice to shed our anonymity and talk to someone who represents the school, but advocates for each of us, individually. And while not everyone will see it this way and some will find seeing an advisor as burdensome, but if you’re open to this relationship, your advisor will be, too.
Is there anything else that concerns you about meeting with your advisor? Let me know so we can talk about it!