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Confessions of a Bad Advisee

By Ryan Scheckel
Academic Advisor
School of Art

It was the Spring of 1998 and I had been at Tech for three years. In that time, I had learned a lot, but I had apparently not learned how to be a good advisee. I sat down in the chair next to my academic advisor’s desk and confessed, “I have no idea what I’m supposed to be taking.” I asked, “Can you help me figure that out?” “Of course,” she said, “but getting into classes might be a little tough SINCE IT’S THE SECOND DAY OF CLASS,” she may or may not have screamed at the top of her lungs (she didn’t, but she should have)!

It might surprise you to find out that a current academic advisor wasn’t the perfect undergraduate advisee, but it shouldn’t. Everyone always has something to learn and very few people are taught how to be a good advisee… until now!

Advising Pro Tip #1 – Preparation

Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersey once said, “It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” While, yes, your advisor has a lot of the information at his or her fingertips, the more you do to prepare for your advising appointment the better the meeting will go. Review your transcript. Look over any 4-year plans or checklists you have been provided. Ask yourself, With this information, what should I be taking next? Then log-in to Raiderlink and see if those classes are actually being offered next semester. Plan out a tentative schedule. Write down any questions you might want to ask your advisor. And bring all of this stuff with you to your appointment.

Advising Pro Tip #2 – Appointment

Whether your academic advisor takes appointments online or wants you to just wait in a line outside their office, you need to make it a priority to be there, so plan accordingly. Your advising appointment should be at least a week before your registration date. What? You don’t know when your registration date is? You can check that on Raiderlink’s MyTech tab under Registration>Registration Status (Dates & Holds). As I said, come prepared, be sure to be on time, and ask all of your questions. You might even decide to take notes, so bring something to write on and with. When your advising appointment is done, you should have a clear plan of action for not only registration, but also for where you’re headed academically, big-picture-wise. Advisors love talking about that stuff, too!

Advising Pro Tip #3 – Registration

So long as you have cleared all of your holds, met with your advisor, and written down your Course Reference Numbers (CRNs), you should be all set. Registration begins at 3:00 p.m. on your registration date. So, if you’re able, set aside the time for registration so you can focus it. If you get an error message, check to make sure you had your CRNs written down correctly, jot down the error message, and try one more time. If you get the same error, ask your advisor for some help. If something is full or there was a late change to the schedule, it helps to have some alternate classes to choose from (yep, your advisor can help with that, too). If you did everything in tips 1 and 2, though, registration should be a breeze. Will the servers crash? Maybe. Just be persistent and patient; it’s nothing personal, I promise.

Advising Pro Tip #4 – Follow-Up

After you’ve entered your CRNs and registered for next semester, be sure to check out your “Concise Student Schedule”. Make sure you actually registered for what you meant to register for. Check in with your advisor as the semester wraps up and see if there’s anything you might want to do as you prepare for the next. And, before the new semester begins, walk your schedule, get books and materials squared away, and make sure nothing has changed with the awesome semester you planned out.

So there you have it, folks! To be a wicked awesome advisee, all you need to remember is P-A-R- um… F. Okay, that doesn’t spell anything cool. But maybe you’ll remember it because it’s weird. PARF!

If nothing else, remember this: Being prepared for advising and registering on time is WAAAAY better than showing up on the second day of class hoping for a miracle. Advisors can be amazingly helpful, but the more you help yourself, the more we can help you!

Now get out there and PARF it up!

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