5 Questions to Ask Your College Advisor Today

Luke Sommer, The Taft School

As nervous freshmen embark on their long college voyages, it is important to start their careers correctly. New students are most likely fumbling with a host of things, such as getting along with their roommates, figuring out a meal plan, and trying to understand academic requirements. It is impossible to do all this alone, and an extremely valuable resource to you is your academic advisor. Here are a few key questions to ask your advisor in order to help give yourself a smoother freshman year.

How can I graduate in four years?

As colleges begin to admit more students, competition for classes increases and it is more difficult to complete the academic requirements. Freshmen should meet with their advisors regularly in order to discuss the required classes and a four-year graduation plan?

What if I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up?

Most freshmen are all in the same place. They don’t have a solid idea about what they want to major in. Although it is popular to enter college with an "undecided" major and, even to switch majors, your advisor can help narrow down certain fields and discuss required classes with you for each major.

Can I have a microwave or fridge in my dorm room?

Most colleges have different rules concerning dorm rooms and what students can and can not bring with them. Some colleges even provide services that allow students to rent microwaves and fridges. These tools are essential for those late-night snackers or even just for students who want a little food without having to trek to a near-by dining hall.

What can I do if I am struggling with my course load?

Some students may not be able to make the difficult transition to college work easily for them at first. In this scenario, your advisor can be your best friend. Advisors can help you communicate with your teachers in order to find extra help. Additionally, your advisor may be able to connect you to older students who serve as tutors.

How soon should I start consulting the career development office?

Although students may be overwhelmed with the college transition, it is never too soon to start exploring career options. College is all about preparation for the work force, so the career development center can be a crucial tool. Your advisor can introduce you to a career counselor and help you get a head start in the working world.

College is a very hectic time for all students, and it is important for them to know that they are not alone in their journey. Developing a good relationship with an advisor can make the transition smoother and less worrisome. College should be a time to learn and have fun, but when students try to deal with all of their problems alone, their college experience can be tainted. If students ask the right questions to their advisers, their experience will be enjoyable and educational.