Why it is Important to Meet With Your Advisor if You are on Academic Probation

by UMaineCLASAdvisingCenter

As a graduate student and academic advisor who has worked with students on academic probation for the last two years, I see a common pattern. Students on probation often miss their advising meetings or never even schedule an appointment to begin with. I believe there are a couple of reasons for this: first, some students may feel stigmatized and singled out, or they may be ashamed of their academic performance; or secondly, they don’t realize the value of meeting with an academic advisor.

Students may say to themselves, I know what to do, I don’t need someone else to tell me. Too often, these students are not aware of the ways in which we are able to guide them as they navigate through the new semester. As an advisor, it is hard to see students come in at the very end of a semester feeling completely overwhelmed with their classes and doing poorly. At that point there’s relatively little I can do for them. All I can say is that I wish they had come in to the Advising Center early on in the semester so that we could’ve been proactive about the situation. The most valuable action a student can make is coming to the Advising Center as soon as they are aware of their situation.

In fact, most probation students are pleasantly surprised at the help they receive. They often comment that the meeting was more helpful than they ever imagined and their only regret is that they didn’t come in sooner. The fact, is we are here for a reason, and that reason is to provide a resource for students in order to help them realize academic success. There are many things that hinder student success. One of the main things I have noticed is an unrealistic sense of independence, a “go it alone” attitude. This often leads the student down a path of repeating the same behaviours that hindered them in the past. Students tend to remain uninformed about the myriad resources available on campus. They may also prefer to rely on advice from their friends (which is often incorrect!) or simply try to search out the answers on our website for themselves. We do our best to have the best, most up-to-date information on our website, but it is no substitute for an actual in-person meeting with an advisor.

One thing I always say to my advisees who are required to come to the Advising Center is that it is an opportunity, not a punishment. It is a great opportunity to do better and learn successful strategies. All too often a lack of information can hold a student back, information that we can readily provide. The best action a student can take is to make that first appointment.

The end of the semester is fast approaching and I urge all students, especially those on academic probation to schedule an advising appointment as early on in the Spring semester as possible. The sooner we can sit down and talk, the sooner a student can prepare and adjust his or her schedule according to their need. I recommend meeting once at the beginning, and again about four weeks into the semester, and then a final meeting around registration time for the following semester. Of course a student can always stop by to talk any time. Our doors are always open and we look forward to helping our students. To schedule an appointment with any of our qualified advisors follow this link. We look forward to starting the new year off on a positive note and working with all students to help them achieve their goals!