Over the last week or so we’ve completed our fall academic advising sessions, during which we discuss with students their plans for the spring semester and beyond. We take our role as advisors quite seriously at St. Mike’s – it is officially considered an extension of our role as teachers, which is the most important aspect of our jobs. Advising isn’t just about keeping students on-track for graduation, although that certainly is part of our role. We take these opportunities to find out what students plans are for the future, and how we can help. The possibilities for the future are vast, but reaching them takes planning.
So we ask questions beyond the basics of meeting graduation requirement. Questions such as – Would you like to do an internship, study abroad, or fit in a research project during the next academic semester or year? How about applying for funding to stay and do research during the summer? What about doing a minor or second major in another field? What are the plans for after St. Mike’s? Grad school, med school, maybe physical therapy or pharmacy programs (just to name a few)? If more education is in the plan, then when to take the GRE, MCAT, DAT, or similar grad program entrance exams? How to find a good fit for a Master’s or PhD grad program? Or are you seeking immediate employment? What course selections will give you the skills needed to get that job after you graduate? What are your plans for the summer, and how will those help you toward your eventual goals? Where have you been looking for opportunities? Have you been working on your letter of application and resume? What have you done to boost your resume? Have you visited the Student Resources office for additional advice? ..... and the list goes on.
These are not questions that can typically be answered in only one session. It takes time for students to consider options, try some things out, come back to bounce off some more ideas. This is why advising is not just about keeping on-track for graduation. It’s about developing a relationship with students over time, based on many meetings and discussions, and focusing on what we can do to help our students reach their goals.