How to Prepare for an Advising Period

by UMaineCLASAdvisingCenter

The time to register for classes is fast approaching. That means that soon you will be required to meet with your advisor to talk about what classes you should be taking. Of course, if you have questions for your advisor, you shouldn’t be waiting to go talk to them, you should be going right away, while they have time. In this post, I’m going to go over some important steps to take in advance of an advising meeting.

An important thing to remember about the advising period is that your faculty advisor will be meeting with a large number of students in a short period of time, so your meetings will probably be short, often in the realm of 15 minutes. It behooves you, then, to be prepared when you get there. Spend a few minutes in advance so that you have more time to talk with your advisor about the important things, rather than spending the first 5-10 minutes just figuring out where you are with your general education requirements and your major and minor requirements.

Without further adieu, here are the 5 things to do before your meeting with an your advisor:

  1. First thing you need to do is make an appointment. This is generally pretty easy. If you are meeting with your faculty advisor, send them an email asking when you could meet. If you don’t hear back from them in a timely manner (1-2 days), stop by their office during their office hours. If you don’t know where their office is or what their office hours are, you can find that out from the administrative specialist in the department office. If you are meeting with one of us here in the CLAS Advising Center, you can make the appointment yourself, online, 24 hours a day. Every page on our website has a link at the bottom where you can make your appointment with the appropriate advisor (Amy Smith for students on academic probation, John Mascetta for undecided students, and Robert Hodges for transfer students).
  2. After you’ve scheduled the appointment, be sure to write down the date, time, and location. Put it on a calendar of your own. Or, use Google Calendar to keep track of the appointment. Every student on campus is provided with a Google account and Google Calendar is a very useful tool which can be set up to send you reminders in advance of any and all appointments.
  3. Now you want to fill out your General Education Worksheet and any worksheets that your major department provides. The best way to get all of your previous class information quickly and easily is to pull up your Degree Progress Report. The Degree Progress Report analyzes all of your classes and shows what requirements they fulfill, both for Gen-Eds and for your major and minor. Check out our earlier video on how to pull it up and use it to fill out your Gen-Ed Worksheet if you don’t know how.
  4. Make a list of questions you will ask your advisor. These questions can be as mundane as asking where the location of a department is or when you have to declare a major/minor, or they can be as complex as helping you map out a course plan. Everyone’s questions are different, so spend a little time to think up what questions you may have.
  5. The final “to do” is to show up on time for your appointment. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your advisors office. If you can’t make the appointment for some reason (and it should be a very good reason if you can’t make it), be sure to contact your advisor well in advance and let them know. Give them time to fill that slot up. The advising period is a very busy time for faculty, staff, and students. If you schedule an appointment and just simply don’t show up, you are being rude not just to your advisor but to your fellow students as well, one of whom may have been able to use that slot rather than have to use a later, less convenient time.

When you follow these five steps, you are bound to have a much better, more productive and informative advising meeting.