Roles of Students and Academic Advisors

Advising is a partnership between students and their advisors. With that in mind, here are the expectations of both parties.

two studentsAdvising is often equated with course selection, but there's actually a lot more to this relationship than PIN numbers and graduation planners. Advisors want to help students meet any and all educational goals. And it is because of this broad responsibility that the advisor/student relationship can take on many forms. In fact, some students benefit most by meeting with their advisors more often to share stories, gain advice, and map their road to academic success.

Here's a list of practical expectations for both students and their advisors.

You should:

  • Read all e-mails sent to your USM e-mail account

  • Make sure your advisor knows your academic and personal goals

  • Know who your advisor is. If you don't know, or want to change your advisor, JUST ASK!

  • Not wait until the last minute to schedule your appointments

  • Come prepared for your appointment – course ideas, question, etc.

  • Not hesitate to ask questions – take the initiative

  • Check to be sure you've met course pre-requisites before registering

  • Familiarize yourself with the academic policies in the catalog

  • Know USM deadlines and dates

  • Ask instructors and advisors for help when you need it

In the end, you make all decisions. Only you know your long and short-term goals and how they are evolving. Seek out others for help in deciding what courses are important in reaching these goals, but don't forget your own responsibilities to the process.

Academic Advisors should:

  • Be accessible and tell you their preferred method of contact (e.g. e-mail, phone, etc.)

  • Be a responsive listener

  • Help you determine your progress toward graduation

  • Help you explore your interests, goals and abilities, and relate them to academic majors

  • Understand USM policies

  • Refer you to support systems on campus

  • Maintain confidentiality and understand the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

  • Approve your schedule for the next semester and give you a PIN (Note: some graduate programs don't require a PIN)

What else can you do?

  • Keep an advising notebook. Write down questions, plans, internship ideas and other advising-related material.

  • Think long term – use the Graduation Planner to tentatively plot out your stay at USM