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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Student Guide to Advising

As a student, you have to make lots of choices that directly affect your academic career path.

Our goal is to provide you with the right information, when needed, so that you can reach your own academic goals leading to graduation.

Carefully plan and frequently review requirements. This will help ensure that you will have no problems at graduation.

Advising should be a continuing process not limited to approval of courses.

  • You may contact your adviser or the Academic Advising & Support Office as often as you wish.
  • You are encouraged to take the initiative in seeking their assistance at any time you have questions or concerns. Informal student-adviser contact can enhance the quality of the undergraduate experience.
  • Course offerings and curriculum requirements sometimes change. Discussions regarding changes are very important for students to stay on track for their degree.
  • Also, regular contact with your adviser will help provide a good source for recommendations later in a student's career.

Choosing Classes

With the Pathways General Education Program you get to explore many different areas of study. In deciding what classes to take, you might look for a class that:

  • Features a subject you've studied previously
  • Is a discipline that is unfamiliar to you
  • Helps you develop one of your strengths
  • Helps you develop one of your weaknesses
  • Teaches you about social problems
  • Is an introductory course for a major you are considering
  • Helps you understand yourself
  • Helps you understand the physical world around you
  • Helps you lead a healthy life
  • Examines the major institutions of our society
  • Examines technology and how it works
  • Improves your communications skills
  • Teaches you to solve problems
  • Develops your skills in research, organization and critical thinking.

Getting Prepared for Your Advising Appointment

Use this list to prepare yourself for each academic advising appointment:

  • Keep important papers like grade reports, transfer credit evaluations, audits, etc. in a safe place and bring them to your appointment. It may even be helpful to prepare a list of questions or concerns before meeting with your adviser.
  • Check out the College Catalog for major and minor requirements.
  • Identify Pathways courses you'd like to sign up for. Make sure you have the prerequisites for a course. You don't want to be in a course for which you aren't ready.
  • Consult the Schedule of Classes and write the tentative plan of what classes to take.
  • Bring the tentative course plan free of time conflicts to the advising appointment and be prepared to discuss it with an adviser. Also bring a list of alternate courses to choose from just in case.
  • Make sure any holds are removed before your registration time.
  • Remember, ultimately you are responsible for checking that the classes taken will satisfy graduation requirements in a timely manner!

Student Responsibilities

  • Understand College requirements for graduation including:
    • Specific major requirements
    • Implications of repeating a course
    • Implications of selecting S/U/P grading
    • Implications of Warning and Probation
    • Hours required for graduation
    • Distinctions among lower and upper division, liberal and non-liberal arts designations and hours required, PE hours
  • Become knowledgeable about graduation requirements by attending advising workshops and by studying advising materials.
  • Study all information pertinent to one's degree program in the Undergraduate Catalog and any supplemental materials provided for the major.
  • Keep accurate records and update the degree progress audit sheet every semester.
  • Sign up for an advising appointment each semester with the academic adviser, during the designated advising period. Keep the appointment.
  • Be prepared for your advising appointment. For tips on this see Preparing for Advising.
  • Accept full responsibility for own progress.
  • Accept full responsibility for own decisions (good or bad) and progress (slow or steady).

When Should I See My Adviser?

  • Prior to Registration for scheduling classes. You won't be able to register for classes unless you meet with your adviser. After the appointment, your adviser will release your advising hold so you can register for classes.
  • When the Schedule of Classes is available. Contact your adviser early in the advising period to set up an advising appointment. Some advisers post sign-up sheets on their office doors; others make appointments by phone.
  • When you declare a major. You will be assigned a new adviser in your major department. You will be assigned an adviser for each major and minor you declare, and you should see each of those advisers before registering.
  • If you get a Raised Flag in Starfish. Arrange to talk to your adviser about what you can do to improve.
  • If you are considering Withdrawing from a class.
  • When you have a problem that you need help solving. Such as: academic difficulties and how to correct them.
  • When you are considering a change in direction, changing your major or interests and for career advice. Most advisers are happy to talk with students about their field of study! Keep in touch with your adviser.

Remember that advising is a 50/50 partnership!