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Your advisor’s role in your academic path

image of Felmley Hall

Felmley Hall at Illinois State University.

There are many questions and a plethora of activities and information surrounding your academic career. With so much information it’s sometimes difficult to decipher what to do next or where to go.  With information comes a wealth of resources, and one of the most valuable is your academic advisor.  Your advisor is a constant in the ever-changing activities as a student.  What is the role of the advisor and how does that relate to the student’s responsibilities?  Below, you can see a breakdown of the many roles of your advisor and how it relates to your time and responsibilities as a student.

A – Academic Path

Your advisor is your partner that will assist you in writing your personal outline, your map, your path to success – the academic path of specific courses that you will take toward graduation. The information that you give your advisor regarding your interests and what you would ‘like to do when you grow up’ is a key part to this academic path that you will write together.  You are in charge of your academic path, and your advisor is there to help you along the way.

D – Diversity

Your advisor recognizes how each person’s unique experiences shape their academic and career goals, and each person has a different method or mode of transportation toward achieving those goals.  As a result, your advisor strives to understand each student’s uniqueness and individual circumstances and works with you to build upon them a foundation of success.  As a whole, those individual circumstances make up a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff all working together to create a strong academic circle, resulting in a vast array of knowledge and experiences.

V – Validation

There are times when, as a student, you may have doubts creep in and you begin to question something. For example, if you are doing the right thing academically, if a course you chose to take would be the best option or if you should change it out, or if the direction you are taking is the one that fits best with your evolving interests.  Your advisor is there to give you the validation you need in those times of question by reviewing your plan with you, providing valuable information to help you make the decisions you are confident in.

I – Individuality

Your advisor works to respect individual strengths, challenges, viewpoints, and aspirations.  Advisors meet with you one-on-one and help you construct an academic path for your specific needs.  One of the best things your advisor does is works with you as an individual rather than seeing you as part of a group.

 S – Success

Your success is important to your future, and your advisor knows that the confidence you have in that future and success directly relates to your understanding of what it will take to achieve it.  Occasionally, you may find a roadblock in your path.  This could be related to the available courses offered in a semester, a grade that doesn’t meet the minimum necessary to move forward, or even a scheduling issue.  Your advisor can help you structure certain steps to take for an organized approach to your goals.

O – Opportunities

Your advisor can refer you to a variety of opportunities and resources available to you academically, through student organizations, and through campus resources that are related to your individual academic path.  Your advisor can help you with information and professional resources such as professional development dinners, seminars, conferences, and leadership opportunities.

R – Responsibilities

Your academic path is something that you are working with your advisor on, and each person has their own responsibilities and roles to create that path.  As an advisor, those responsibilities are to serve as your guide, while you are responsible for learning how to navigate the expectations and requirements for your degree.  Your advisor is responsible for being an advocate for you and share with you tools and resources available to you on campus to aide in your success.  As a student, it is your responsibility to follow up and take the necessary steps to acquire and secure those resources, and to keep a vested interest and understanding of your long term and short term plans.

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