The importance of academic advising is undeniable. Even if you have a clear path forward, it is still helpful to get the advice of an adult who has been through the high school and college experience themselves, as well as helped hundreds or thousands of students to make the best decisions in their academic careers.
How Important Is Academic Advising?
In this article:
- What Is Academic Advising?
- Why Is Academic Advising Important?
- What Does Academic Advising Involve?
- What Should You Talk to Your Advisor About?
- How Often Should You Visit an Academic Advisor?
- How Can You Get the Most Out of the Relationship?
- What Kinds of Activities Should You Add to Your Resume?
- How Can the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Help?
- Get in Touch to Speak with Us Today
What Is Academic Advising?
Academic advising, fortunately, is a free service offered by all institutions of learning. You can get advice from actual people based on their experience going through the same process you are currently following. If you are in high school and are wondering how best to cultivate your relationship with your current advisor, you will get answers here. If you are interested in learning more about colleges of choice, you can even plan a visit and speak to a faculty advisor there.
Students of all interest areas and grade-point averages should take advantage of an academic advisor. It is never too late to fix a lagging GPA or to focus passions for the sake of making the most of your resume. Here is how to do just that, so you can hone your career goals and succeed in life.
Why Is Academic Advising Important?
Sometimes, when you are too close to something, it is hard to see the forest for the trees. You can get so stuck in one pursuit, goal or broken dream that you do not know how to encourage your growth in other areas. Now more than ever, though, colleges and universities are looking for well-rounded students who have a range of interests.
Of course, not too big a range. Universities also want undergraduate students who have clear academic goals and who are likeliest to do the school proud by graduation. An academic advisor can help you:
- Stay on track for student success
- Move past a goal or attempt that did not work out, and figure out how to fix it (for instance, a low test score or failure to get into a specialized program)
- Keep track of your classes and make the best plan for completing requirements
- Choose the best extracurriculars
- Broaden your interest areas to show yourself in the best light when application time rolls around
… and more. Plus, if you have a specialized interest, you can talk to the program coordinator and use them for academic advising services. The more the merrier!
What Does Academic Advising Involve?
Academic advising takes different forms over the years, as you progress through high school and college. For first-year students, the process is a little more intense. At the beginning of time at a given institution, you are likely to feel more uncertain about what you want to get out of the experience. To that end, academic advisors will help you work out an academic plan. That meeting may last awhile, up to an hour.
At each advising center meeting from then on out, you and your advisor will likely meet for 15-30 minutes as you check in and discuss your current progress. In the event that you have something more serious going on at home or in school, or you have a serious shift in your plans, the meeting may take longer.
Typically, you will leave the advisor’s office with a to-do list for increasing your resume’s worth and enhancing your chances of getting into the college of your choice. In later years, your advisor will help you plan for college applications. Again, you will leave meetings with a to-do list and deadlines by which to accomplish each step. Afterward, you can check back in to ensure you have done everything right before submitting your college applications.
What Should You Talk to Your Advisor About?
When you head to the academic advising center, do so with a clear plan in mind each time. That way, you will get the most out of the meeting. In many cases, your advisor will also have topics they want to discuss – either specific to you or as part of their annual checklist for each student. Overall, however, your conversation will involve:
- A review of your academic progress to date, including successes and areas that need improvement
- Any classes you might need to retake or summer school courses that can boost your GPA
- Graduation requirements to ensure you finish on time
- College degree requirements and any options for getting credit towards them before you graduate high school
- Plans for dealing with courses in which you struggle (everyone has some!)
- Other factors that might influence your academic success, such as relationships, lifestyle or study habits
Note that these topics are not typically one-off discussions. Rather, you should reconvene with your advisor or advisors over and over again to make sure you are still on track. Which leads to the question: How often should you visit your advisor?
How Often Should You Visit an Academic Advisor?
For the most part, it is a good idea to visit an advisor every term. You should review your classes together and make plans for the following term. You should also look over your extracurricular activities to ensure they still look good on a resume. If you have lost interest in any of these activities, you will want to replace them with other, related activities to keep your interests consistent.
In the event that you make a substantial shift in your interests, it is wise to speak with your academic advisor right away. You will want to make a plan for how to spin the shift so that you do not look inconsistent – a major turnoff for admissions officers.
In specialty cases, such as when you visit the registrar’s office during a college visit, you will likely only go when you have a special need. Most students create their schedule online or by submitting forms, and do not need to speak directly with the registrar unless there is a particular problem. However, you may need to pay them a visit if you wish to order transcripts or send them off to a college or university to which you are applying. Additionally, some summer programs require transcripts.
How Can You Get the Most Out of the Relationship?
Your advisors are there to help you establish and follow through on your long-term goals. They are also there to assist you when you run into trouble or hit a crisis in your life. Therefore, the most important aspect of any advising relationship is honesty. Your discussions with your advisor will prove useless if you do not share your true feelings and trust to your advisor to do what is best for you.
In the event that you do not trust or like your advisor, you should speak with your principal and see if you can be switched to another advisor.
Other than that, it is important to see your advisor whenever you want advice. Do not wait too long to make an appointment when you need one. Otherwise, you may miss opportunities or allow situations to fester that need dealing with.
What Kinds of Activities Should You Add to Your Resume?
One of the biggest academic advising services is helping you decide what to put on your resume. Usually, that includes:
- Honors societies
- Clubs and associations, such as debate or chess
- Volunteer experience
- Summer camps
… and anything else that puts your character and abilities in a good light.
How Can the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Help?
The National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists is here to help you reach your dreams. If you have spoken to an academic advisor and they have told you to round out your interests, a summer program can do the trick. Our annual Congress that connects top scientists and bright students is the perfect way to do that.
Note that a single trip to a premier scientific and technology event such as our annual Congress is a good addition to your resume, but cannot replace sustained interest and dedication to a subject or activity. While attendance is extremely enriching and beneficial, you should combine it with a passion for STEM subjects to get the most out of it. Of course, any student can benefit from hearing the best speakers in the field, but this is particularly helpful for students trying to find direction in a science and technology field.
Have more questions? We have more answers.
Get in Touch to Speak with Us Today
The National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists is dedicated to helping students reach their full potential. If you are interested in discovering your own potential and reaching your dreams, we invite you to call or email. We would love to tell you more about who we are and how we can help you.
Learn more about academic advising with this video from The Audiopedia:
If you would like to learn more about the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Congress, please reach out. This three-day Congress invites you to participate in discussions of current scientific issues by top thinkers. Come learn more about who you are, what you want out of life, and what you can contribute to the world.
Get in touch today to speak with a representative who can tell you more. It is time to take your dreams by the horns, so wait no more!
Do you already have an academic advisor? How has academic advising helped you with achieving your goals for college and the future? Share your experiences with us here.