Support your new college student by reminding them to use all the college resources that are available, particularly academic advising.
Their academic advisor will be a key ally throughout college. Meeting with their advisor and learning about course registration is an essential first step on the college journey, and regular meetings with the advisor can help your student stay on track to an on-time graduation.
Your student may receive a faculty or department advisor if they have already declared a major, or they may work with someone who specializes in first-year or undecided students.
The academic advisor will:
- Help your student identify, pursue and attain meaningful educational and personal goals
- Communicate information about university policies, procedures and requirements
- Help your student create a four-year plan tailored to their areas of interest and their eventual major
- Evaluate and monitor your student’s academic progress
Encourage your student to meet with their advisor as early as possible. At larger schools, the first meeting may be over phone/Skype or by email during the summer; at smaller colleges, students may meet their advisors to register for courses during move-in/welcome week. Either way, a prompt meeting means your student is more likely to get the courses they want and need during their first college semester.
Regular meetings with the advisor can help your student stay on track to an on-time graduation.
Preparing for course registration
- Before the first meeting with their academic advisor, your student should look at the online college catalog to review Gen Ed and degree requirements and identify areas of study they’d like to explore.
- They should prepare a list of courses they’d like to take plus questions to ask their advisor about how to achieve their goals (to acquire certain skills or prepare for a particular career, for example).
- Your student should activate their online student account (if they haven’t already). When they log in, they will see if they are missing any forms or if there is an unpaid bill. These must be taken care of before your student will be allowed to register.
- They should also activate their new university email address. This is how the school will communicate with your student for the next four years.
The academic advising office helps students in academic difficulty, but it is also a very useful resource for all students. If academic advising can’t answer a question, they will put your student in touch with the appropriate department.
Insider bonus! Help your student get ready to make the most of their college experience.
Over the summer, students should prepare to make the most of their higher education experience. To be ready for college, they do not have to know their major field of study. They do need to understand themselves as learners. Their motivation to study and work hard (and college coursework will be much harder than high school) will come from a commitment to reaching their goals and seeing their dreams come true.
Did your student take a personality assessment in high school like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? If not, counselors and therapists can administer the Myers-Briggs instrument or it can be taken online. There are also free online personality tests and your student can also visit the “Know Yourself” page on The College Board’s BigFuture website.