A student can have a general idea of what they want to do with their lives and what dream career to pursue but the steps towards reaching those goals are quite a process and oftentimes an intimidating one at that. But that doesn’t mean students have to go through this stage in their lives alone. Once a school has been chosen and a student has been accepted, there are a number of professionals on hand to guide them. The role of academic advisor is perhaps one of the most important.
Academic advisors do much more than simply help students figure out which courses to sign up for. They serve as a go-to-person for all questions and concerns a student might have in regards to their education and the decisions they’ll have to make. Despite the easy access there is to academic advisors on virtually all college campuses, a large number of students fail to take advantage of this valuable resource.
All too often students believe they can handle such decisions on their own or feel unnecessary pressure to somehow predict the future. However, instead of planning the upcoming college years blindly or turning to out of the box methods like a psychic review online, all a student has to do is make one visit to the office of their academic advisor to get the ball rolling.
As mentioned above, academic advisors serve the student body in a number of ways that aren’t just limited to what classes they need to take in order to graduate on time and fulfill the requirements of their chosen degree program. One way to think of this professional is as a therapist of sorts. It isn’t uncommon for students to maintain a close working relationship with their assigned academic advisor throughout the duration of their college years. This builds a solid level of trust, as well as familiarity, which allows an advisor to properly guide and notify students of opportunities that would help advance their progress in their studies or even help prepare for life after college.
The capacity in which academic advisors are allowed to operate vary from campus to campus but at schools like UCSF in the San Francisco Bay Area, these professionals are integrated into the daily lives of the students they mentor/advise. This includes having an in-depth understanding of the school’s demographic in order to properly work with students of all backgrounds and income levels, maintaining regular contact with students through office hour consultations and being proactive in overseeing the planning process agreed upon between the student and advisor.
To obtain a position as an academic advisor, individuals are trained to thoroughly understand the advising process and the ways their efforts and interactions with students, staff and others within the educational institution impact learning. Not only are academic advisors experts when it comes to the inner workings of the college or university, they also serve as cheerleaders by offering support to students during difficult times and encouraging/promoting their successes.