Get to Know Your Academic Advisor

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Photo by Matt Wettengel
Photo by Matt Wettengel

Alyssa Rutt has a Master of Science in Education from the University of Kansas and received her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University. She previously served as an academic advisor for the University of Kansas and currently works for the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University as a program coordinator.  This week she will focus on how academic advisors can assist you during your college career and future plans.

As a former academic advisor for primarily first and second year college students I have seen the full spectrum of the successes and struggles college student face. Let’s get one thing out of the way now – college does not happen in a petri dish – life happens, whether classes are in session or not.

When life happens or you find yourself stressed out about adjusting to college, there are people on campus who are there and want to help you. One of the most important people who can offer you assistance and help you navigate the transition to college is your academic advisor.

What you need to know about academic advisors:

Advisors are a fantastic resource: Academic advisors are so much more than schedule builders. They can get you in touch with campus resources including: tutoring resources, financial aid services, scholarship opportunities and ways to get involved on campus and are great starting points for any and all questions. Advisors can also provide tips for transitioning to learning in a college classroom, help you to balance your time and assist you in choosing a major.

One of the first questions I ask my advisees is: What do you do better than anyone else?  Often times students will   look at me with blank stares or just shrug, but after I let the question hang in the air for a bit, students start to                think about what their strengths are and what makes them happy. This becomes the starting point for a great conversation about what students want from their education. What do YOU do better than anyone else?

Advisors care about student success: I have yet to talk with an academic advisor who does not care about his or her students succeeding. They are in this profession because they care about students and they want to see you succeed! While advisors are there to help students, it is ultimately up to the student to reach out and ask for help.

If you are like me and you struggle with asking for help, find some comfort in the fact you are NOT the only student on campus who has a question or needs help. People around you may look like they have it all figured out, but odds are they have the same questions you do.

Start planning today what your academic advisor can assist you with and build upon that relationship!


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