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Tips for Successful Advising Appointments

Making the Most of Your Time

Determine why you are seeing your advisor and let him/her know the purpose of your visit. Your advisor won't know if you want to discuss class scheduling, preparation for graduate school or something else, unless you tell him or her what is on your mind. If you are talking about one topic and your advisor is discussing another, you will both suffer from miscommunication.

  • Write down your questions and concerns and bring that list with you to your appointment. Allow room on that sheet for you to write in the answers.
  • Keep a folder with all your "official" papers in it and bring it to advising appointments. Your folder should include material of importance to you and:
    • A copy of important dates (e.g., last day to drop a class without a grade, first date of eligibility for early registration for the upcoming semester).
    • Any worksheets or checklists you and your advisor have worked on in past appointments. It's helpful to always have on these sheets a space for the date on which they were most recently updated.
    • Your current degree audit, if available.

Personal Issues to Consider When Scheduling Classes

  • Consider your outside obligations (work, practice schedules). Don't try to do too much.
  • Think about what kind of learning environment is best for you (do you prefer smaller classes, online classes, etc.).
  • What time of the day are you at your best? Can you avoid times of the day when you are less attentive?
  • Visualize your day: do you prefer time in between classes or do you like having them back-to-back?
  • Be flexible: you may have to take an 8 o'clock course even if that's not your preference.
  • Note that some classes are only offered at certain times. Prioritize these classes first. In other words, build the rest of your schedule around these classes.
  • Talk to friends about instructors, course formats. They are good sources for this kind of information. Do remember, however, that your friends won't always like or dislike the style that works for you. Use their opinions while making your own decisions.
  • Consider more than the title of a course. Read the description and be especially careful to note the prerequisites.
  • Balance your course load (i.e. don't take all of your science credits in one semester if you are not a science major).
  • Classes can "change" after you register (room location, instructor, writing intensive status). Always check your schedule on MyCentral before classes start so you have the latest information.

Class Schedule and Registration Appointments

If the purpose of your meeting with your advisor is to discuss degree progress and selection of classes for the upcoming semester, attention to the following list will ensure a more productive discussion. The material that follows is in addition to, rather than instead of, that listed above under Making the Most of Your Time.

  • Know the earliest date of your registration eligibility and see your advisor well in advance of that time. Your date and time to register is listed in your MyCentral portal.
  • Check MyCentral to see if you have any holds on your account. Do what you need to do remove the hold so you'll be allowed to register.
  • Develop a list of course possibilities to discuss with your advisor. To do this you need to use:
    • A list of current degree requirements.
    • A list of courses that can be used to meet your degree requirements.
    • A course number and title, course reference number (CRN) day and time of class meetings for each of your course options.
    • Take note of the number of seats still available in each class. Remember, this number is fluid and changes all the time.
    • Remember to check, for each course, whether you have successfully completed the prerequisite.
    • Develop a list of courses that is larger than the number of courses you will actually take. This will help you work around time conflicts and closed classes while still making significant degree progress.

Questions for Your Advisor

  • Each major may require specific courses: don't assume all students need to take the same courses.
  • Keep in mind that there are often several courses that will meet the same requirement. Use the tools/resources your advisor provides to know your options.
  • Make sure you are using the tools (list of gen. ed. requirements, etc.) for your own department/major.
  • Be aware of course types and locations (i.e. online, hybrid, CSC, etc.).
  • Know how each course is counting for you (Is it an elective? Is it counting as part of the BSBA pre-admission core?)
  • Don't take the same course twice. Learn about duplicate credit (did you have dual credit from high school? AP credit?).
  • Always check prerequisites (courses you should have successfully completed before enrolling in another courses) in the Course Catalog.
  • Know the level of the course (e.g., 1000 level courses are intended primarily for freshmen, 2000 level courses are primarily taught at the sophomore level). Make sure the level is appropriate to your experiences.
  • Remember the Schedule of Courses gets updated regularly. Check back often to see if new classes/sections are being offered or previously listed classes are cancelled.

Material for this page was originally developed by The University of Missouri - Columbia and modified for the HCBPS Academic Advising Center.
http://advising.missouri.edu/about/questions.html