A-Z Index


Why do I need an advisor?

A "good" advisor can be one of the most important relationships you have at college. A knowledgeable and concerned advisor is prepared to respond to certain college realities delineated by W. Habley (as cited in Upcraft & Kramer, 1995):

  • only 12% of beginning students expect to change majors-65-85% do;
  • only 2% of beginning students expect to fail a course-16% do;
  • only 8% of students expect to take extra time to finish their degree-60% do;
  • only 1% of beginning students expect to drop out-40% do.

What qualities should I look for in an advisor?

Former and present students have outlined certain characteristics they believe "good" advisors must possess. According to these students, an advisor can/may/should/must:

  • make students aware of specific academic requirements;
  • assist in the establishment of and implementation of academic goals;
  • be knowledgeable of available resources, programs, facilities, and support services;
  • know the advisee's name and establish a friendly and caring, but professional, relationship with the student;
  • be accessible for advising throughout the semester;
  • provide guidance while stressing student responsibility;
  • be honest, sincere, pleasant, and a good listener;
  • be able to talk with the student about "life" in general.

What can you do to maximize your relationship with your advisor?

  • Be active in the advising process-make an effort to get to know your advisor.
  • Seek a "good match." In other words, select an advisor with whom you are "comfortable" and share common academic interests.
  • Make a list of your questions and/or concerns before meeting with your advisor.
  • When you can, ask open-ended questions rather than those that can be answered with a "yes" or "no."
  • Most importantly, assume personal responsibility for your academic career. Your advisor is just that-an advisor. Your progress is ultimately your responsibility.

How do I change my advisor?

  • Identify the faculty member who you would like to be your advisor.
  • Get a "change of advisor" form from the Registrar's Office.
  • Visit with the faculty member during his/her office hours. If he/she agrees to be your advisor, get the necessary signature on the "change of advisor" form and take the form to the Registrar's Office.
  • Follow this same procedure if you would like to change advisors within the department. Your current advisor will not be offended if you would like to change advisors!