Scheduling the Meeting
Different universities schedule advising meetings differently. You may receive an email from your advisor asking you to schedule a time. You may have to keep track of the academic calendar yourself and schedule a meeting when appropriate. You may have to sign up for a meeting online or on a sheet on an office door. It is your responsibility to figure out when advising is occurring and to ensure that you have a meeting. Usually you cannot register for courses without your advisor’s signature, so this is not something you can forget to do. Wait too late and all the good courses may be full.
At the Meeting
Your advisor sounds like someone meant to, well, advise you. Advisors and their responsibilities differ from school to school, however. Some may be willing to walk you through every step of choosing courses and understanding university requirements. Others may exist simply to sign your official forms. And some may simply have so many students that they have trouble remembering who you are.
So your advisor is there to help, but you are ultimately responsible for your own education. To facilitate your meeting with your advisor, familiarize yourself with your university, program, major, and minor requirements. You may find yourself juggling different sets of requirements and your advisor may not be familiar with them all. For example, you may be a first-year student majoring in chemistry, but were assigned an art professor as an advisor. Or maybe you have two majors and a minor, and your advisor only knows the intricate details of her department’s policies. You need to be the one to figure all of this out, e ven if that means contacting the department head or the registrar, because if your advisor is confused, you are the one who may end up as a super-senior because you forgot to take that one required course.
However, if you arrive prepared, you can help explain your plan of study to your advisor. And you should have a course of study. Some required classes may be offered only every other year. You need to know that in advance so you ensure that you can take that course without it bumping another required course off your schedule. Or an elective may only be offered sporadically. That cool course on art history everyone loves? Make sure you leave room for it. If you have a plan as soon as possible, you hopefully will manage to graduate on time.