Making the Most of the Advisor/Advisee Assignment
What follows has been suggested by both successful and frustrated student advisees and faculty advisors. It is required reading for all English majors! In our experience, the advisement relationship can help make or break your experience as an English major, so please take it from us and heed this guide.
1. Who is your advisor? All Auburn students have two advisors: one in their college and one in their major. Your college advisor can help you negotiate your core requirements outside your major. Your major advisor is assigned by the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies. Your major advisor should advise you on your work towards your degree in English and much more....
What is the major advisor anyway??? An advisor's job is twofold, involving:
|A. Paperwork: This part advising requires active participation, planning, feedback, and concentration from you. An advisor should:|
1) help you fill out a plan of study form so that you know what to register for when. The Plan of Study is a graphic overview of the major. It lists the concentrations within the major and shows you what you have to take (the required courses), what we think you should take (the recommended courses), and what is up to you to take (the elective courses). (Actually, you can "elect" nearly all of your major. Even our requirements have menu choices built-in.) The Plan of Study is not a contract, you can change your mind at any time about what you want to take, but it does help you to plan your course schedule and graduate on time.
2) guide you through paperwork and answer any questions about the major: your records, the five concentrations the English department offers, lists of departmental course rotations, semester course descriptions, the phone number of the Study Abroad office, faculty areas of specialization, and departmental resources. Your advisor should refer questions about transfer credits to the appropriate office. No advisor is likely to have all the answers to all questions. However, your advisor should be able to research questions for you or direct you to the right source of information.
|B. Advice: This is the challenging and rewarding part of an advisor's job. He or she has access to information that is not available in any catalogue. And, unlike bulletins and catalogues, he or she has opinions and "real-life" experiences. An advisor can inform you about what courses are popular and likely to close out very quickly; he or she can also urge you to explore courses which you might not otherwise have considered. He or she may suggest courses which complement or importantly contrast with each other. An advisor should urge you to think ahead about your future, consider challenging yourself with a summer-program abroad or a senior honors thesis.|
2. Consider treating all your professors as potential advisors. Go to professors' office hours. Ask questions about your work or future plans as a major. There is a full range of perspectives on many of the issues important to work in English studies. Indeed, Auburn's English department is richly diverse in experiences with graduate school, the job market for majors, and approaches to English studies. Take the opportunity to expose yourself to this diversity.
3. Find the right advisor and then seek her or him out. From looking at your record or from a brief interview, it can be difficult for the undergraduate coordinator to "place" you with an advisor who is right for you. The more active you can be in this process, then, the better. If you have someone in mind as an advisor, then request that person. You may not always be placed with your first choice, but you will avoid the random assignment. Once you know who your advisor is, keep in touch with him or her and not just during registration! Be prepared to be a good advisee:
- Make sure you are cleared to register.
- Keep aware of requirements and investigate course offerings.
- After you have done a plan of study keep a copy in a file and keep that file in a safe place.
- Be aware of what you need to register for. Problems with registration usually arise so the more you know about your file, the better prepared you will be to handle these problems.
4. Register promptly. By registering on the first day for which you are cleared, you increase your chances of getting the classes you need before they fill up.
5. Know your advisor's office hours, office phone number, and email address. It is often frustrating to seek out a professor without this information. He or she may be in class, at the library, in a meeting, or at a conference when you need advising most. So, avoid the last minute crises which advisors and students dread by contacting your advisor ahead of time.
Last updated April 18, 2005