How To Get The Most Out of Your Advisor in 30 Minutes

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The unsung heroes, the underused resource, the watchful eye. These terms don’t describe a superhero, it’s your friendly neighborhood advisor. Advisors give students the scoop to unlocking their untapped potential because they want to watch their students rock the real adult world. Advisors entire job revolves around helping you succeed, so why not take advantage of their presence? Go sit down to chat about your future with the one person that has your back, like Batman’s butler Alfred, but way cooler.

Ask Away

When you head down to your advisor’s office, prepare to ask your advisor a Death Star-sized amount of questions. From “What can I do with my major in the future?” to “Why does my roommate spend four hours in the bathroom?”, advisors can answer any and all (appropriate) questions. Engage in the conversation and prove you’re not just there because you got an email threatening to hold your account if you didn’t visit your advisor.

You’ll leave satisfied knowing far more than when you entered. Sometimes you’ll run out of questions or won’t know what to ask next. “Students who come in with a list of questions make my job really easy, and gives me a focus for our meeting,” Florida State University English Department Advisor Emily Manning said. “However, as advisors, we understand that some students aren’t really sure what they should be asking, and therefore, we’re trained to guide the session if needed.” Fret not, your advisor is there to guide the conversation in case your head starts spinning.

Actually Listen

Although this seems like a given, please just give advisors the time of day they deserve. Today’s Twitter beef can wait 30 minutes; in fact, those keyboard warriors will be at it all day. Go snag an espresso on your way to your advisor’s office and suck it up. You’re only hurting yourself if you don’t give your advisor your undivided attention.

Take notes to avoid stuffing your advisor’s inbox with questions she already answered. Make sure to actually do what they tell you to do once you leave that building. Oh, and please, please, please don’t ask them if you can leave to go use the bathroom. I mean, I wouldn’t know because I’ve totally never asked to go to the bathroom during an advising meeting (Chipotle got the best of me, what can I say?).

Follow-Up

After you leave the office and head back to your apartment to binge on your latest Netflix obsession, send a quick thank you email to your advisor along with any last-minute questions. There may have been something you forgot to mention and this is a good way to learn additional information without even being in the office.

“Students should reach out to their advisor whenever they need to.  Not addressing concerns early can sometimes lead to bigger problems” said Susan Cole, Assistant Director of the Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at Drexel University. Continuously update your advisor on your semester and how it’s going. They were once college kids and understood the college drama before we were born, so they have plenty of advice to help you out with your school problems.

Meet More Than Once

So you met with your advisor once at the begging of the semester to get rid of a hold. If you thought that you don’t have to see them again, you’re wrong. Trust me, meeting with your advisor in person accomplishes much more than an email or two. Make an appointment to meet with them toward the end of the semester so you can talk about your year in review, possible routes for the future or career paths.

“Students should always be pro-active in follow thru after an advising session,” said Mark Costello, the Assistant Dean of Advising in the Anthropology, Communications and Sociology Departments at Drexel University. “Advisors generally have large caseloads and cannot always reach out as much as we’d like.  But if a student does make us aware of an issue–we’re there to help.” By meeting with your advisor more than once a semester, you begin to build a relationship with them and gain am ally in this crazy world full of people dressed up as goblins throwing pumpkin bombs at us—I mean college, the crazy, crazy world of college.

Show Some Appreciation 

After your four years end and you’re forced to start adult life, you’ll look back at all the people that pulled you through, your advisor among them. While you can, make sure to thank your advisor whenever you meet. Their job is to help you, but it’s up to you to let them.

“A thank you note from a student or a student stopping by my office simply to say thank you will put the biggest smile on my face,” said Anna Canlon, senior advisor for the Upper Class Undeclared and Pre-Law Department at the University of Miami. “This really gives advisors such a new motivation and confidence in their job. Our job is to help students, and knowing we had a positive effect on a student really validates why we love our jobs.”

The Chewbacca to your Han Solo, the Watson to your Sherlock, the Doc Brown to your Marty Mcfly, your advisor will always have your back. The real world of fancy adult careers doesn’t dedicate someone to help you succeed, so take advantage before you hit the ground running and let your advisor help you.

Brandon is a Junior at Florida State University studying Editing, Writing and Media. He can be found raving about his fantasy football team that came in second place last season or eating something chicken related.

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