8 Things Every Advisor Tells You

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College advisors are like used-car salesmen. They entice us with the best deals on campus—like that awesome history of rock music class—but in reality, every other guy and gal received that same offer. Academic advisors mean well and definitely help students get through college, but these sales people have been spewing the same winning lines for years. Beware of eight things every advisor sells—I mean…tells—you.

1. “[INSERT PROFESSOR HERE] IS GREAT!”

Asking your advisor about which astronomy professor to take sounds like a good idea, right? Wrong. Ten times out of 10 your advisor enthusiastically recommends taking this or that professor—of course, those are his colleagues and perhaps even his Saturday night poker and scotch buddies. Your advisor may not even know a single professor in the astronomy department, but rather than sound clueless, he’d like to give you the idea that you’re getting the crème de la crème of academic advice.

2. “[INSERT CLASS HERE] IS GREAT!”

Before all of the (seemingly organized) chaos of picking classes begins, it’s nice to confer with someone who can create a road map for you, work as your compass and also act as the great equalizer. In other words, you meet with an advisor for class suggestions and to decide between this annoying accounting class or that other pretty awful accounting course. At the end of the day, your “compass” will just inform you that every direction and every class is really great—“but really, that is a great class to take.”

3. “DROP ME A MESSAGE ANY TIME”

Does your advisor split time between professor and Jake from State Farm? Advisors want to advertise their omnipresent availability, but I doubt academic advisors eagerly await and reply to students needs on Friday nights, spring break or during a Game of Thrones episode. While Jake from State Farm answers the phone at 2 a.m., your advisor sleeps like a baby.

4. “LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS”

“I dislocated my shoulder doing a keg-stand, but my roommates think I’m faking it…You ‘don’t want to know this?’ But you said to let you know if I had any problems.” Academic advisors act like they’ve got your back through it all—and for academic problems, they do—but aside from the day-to-day struggles of making copies of your transcript or scheduling courses for next semester, they don’t exactly produce the Midas touch.

5. “TIME IS YOUR FRIEND”

Such a wise sage is your advisor. Finishing all your gen ed classes looks like a cinch by knocking them out little by little like he suggests. Then, all of a sudden senior year arrives and you never completed those dreaded philosophy credits (no offense to philosophy). Hope you enjoy reading hours of Plato and Socrates, daily, during your final year.

6. “TRY GETTING AN INTERNSHIP”

At some point you probably asked an advisor for amazing insider career advice—the “good stuff,” as they say. You expected an out-of-this-world job opportunity or some really great connection, but you walked out of this meeting with something you already knew: You have to find yourself an internship. Now like every other college student, you set off to see the wonderful wizard of internships with no advisor-supplied yellow brick road.

7. “THERE’S ROOM TO BE FLEXIBLE”

Changing majors, adding a second major or switching concentrations requires important decision-making. So who are you gonna call? Ghost Busters! I mean, your academic advisor, of course, who without hesitation tells you to “go for it.” Like a pilot ready for takeoff, advisors are always onboard for whatever academic desires you wish to pursue. Next time you seek advice on how to shape your degree give me a call; I’m pretty good at saying things like, “yea, sure, go for it” too. And instead of a salary, I accept glazed donuts as payment.

8. “YOUR PROFESSORS ARE A GREAT RESOURCE”

Alright, now this is starting to feel like one big riddle. You thought your academic advisor was supposed to lead you through the trenches and act as your first in command. Now suddenly she’s giving you strange clues to ask your professors for advice? Let’s just see where this “goose chase” takes us (probably the same place as Nicholas Cage in National Treasure).

Nick is a senior English major at Boston College. The three ways to his heart are Survivor, the Baltimore Orioles and Zac Brown Band.

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