Academic advisement is more than simply working with an advisor to help you select courses; it should also encourage you to understand and appreciate the connection that exists between the courses you are selecting and your academic and career goals. Each course you elect to enroll in, as part of your college program, is an opportunity to learn. Through good advisement, you begin to organize this learning into a cohesive program that makes sense to you. This allows you to see your program ‘globally’ that in turn encourages the confidence in you to make additional academic decisions that are in your best interest. Without this ‘global’ understanding it might seem that you are simply following directions and obeying rules that someone else is making – that you have no choice in the path you are following.
Through advisement, you and your advisor work as a team to create a workable educational plan that ties your goals into university programs and policies. It is a relationship built on trust and responsibility and both you and your advisor have specific responsibilities and goals.
What are some of your advisor’s goals and responsibilities?
- To assist you in your consideration of life goals – by relating interests, skills abilities and values to careers and the purpose of higher education.
- To assist you in developing an educational plan consistent with your life plan.
- To provide accurate information to you related to your program, university policies and procedures.
What are some of your goals and responsibilities?
- To develop an understanding of how your goals relate to your overall academic program by asking questions and discussing your goals with your advisor.
- To maintain an active role in the development of your academic plan by reviewing and charting your progress each semester and periodically re-evaluating your goals.
- To enroll in courses which are in your academic best interest and to be responsible for your own enrollment by registering in advised courses and by attending class.
Developing an Academic Plan
Your decision to attend college was the first step in your development of an academic plan. This decision no doubt included a certain set of expectations and goals related to benefits you anticipated would come from earning a bachelors degree and the boost it could give you into your eventual career. As a liberal arts college, the requirements at CSUN are more than just the courses associated with your major area of interest. Other requirements exist, such as General Education and Title 5, which are intended to provide a broad base of information complimenting what you learn in the major. In creating your academic plan, you should begin the process by familiarizing yourself with the degree requirements and the options available to you. Then you should begin identifying courses and paths that meet not only your career goals and interests but your academic needs as well. This is where your advisors come in.
- Preview the titles and/or descriptions of GE and major courses with an intention of understanding what skills or knowledge each is trying to teach you.
- Meet with advisor to go over requirements and discuss your goals and options.
- Begin to formulate a plan tying courses to requirements and goals.
Your academic goals are based on you - your skills, your weaknesses, your career aspirations, your life goals, and so on. Because of this, your academic plan will seem somewhat different from other students – you might choose a slightly different mix of General Education courses and/or major courses tailored to your particular experience.
- Periodically review your plan and progress with your advisor, looking for strengths and weaknesses. Discussing your goals with your advisor is a good strategy – ask questions, probe. “What is this class trying to teach me?” “How does this requirement fit into my overall plan?” “What other options do I have?” “Are my skills developed enough to complete this course?”
After you begin to understand how the courses you’re considering could assist you with your goals – then you should be ready to schedule your courses each semester. In order to stay on track, though, you should periodically review both your progress as well as your goals.