Why You Should Visit Your College Advisor

Published on Sep 10, 2013
Photo by Jacob BollPhoto by Jacob Boll

Whether you’re a new student to Columbia, in the midst of your academic experience or trying to finish up to get that degree, college advising is a crucial resource. “Students who visit us for the first time their junior year are more likely to be surprised, in a bad way, on what remaining requirements they need to graduate,” says Brian Marth, Director of College Advising.  From the first time you enter Columbia through graduation, the college advising center is your resource for academic support.

Advising Appointments: What Happens?

Appointments with your advisor usually concern academic requirements, registration and where you stand in terms of graduation. Marth assures that you can also “come in and talk about finding help in transition periods, to discuss roommate issues, financial stuff and dropping out”. They’ll be sure to help you or help you find the resources you need to solve your toughest issues. Be ready with questions and understand that your advisors are primarily there to help you in your academic progress.

Best Times to Make Your Appointment

If you do have something more involved than a quick check-in or registration questions, it’s best to make appointments in mid-semester or well before the next semester starts.  “We can’t do a full breakdown of an academic plan during the high season,” Marth regrets. “So, it’s best to come in times between registration periods, like October or March."

Who Should Make an Appointment with Their Advisor?

Everyone, that’s whom. However, if you have industry-specific or department-specific questions, you might also want to see your faculty advisor. They have more variable hours but might have a greater expertise in your specific field.

  • First-Year and Transfer Students
    If you’re a first-year student, you should be making an appointment now. “Students in their first year meet with us to get a foundation for the resources on campus and requirements for graduation,” Marth explains. “It’s an expectation that they’ll touch base. 
  • Sophomores and Juniors
    While in the middle of your college career, make sure to check in before registration and at least once a year, if not once a semester, to ensure that you’re on track and not missing out on any opportunities. Interested in studying abroad or doing the Semester in LA? Time to make that appointment with your advisor.
  • Seniors
    Advising services are a resource all the way up until graduation. Seniors should be making sure their requirements are all set and their ducks are in a row for graduation. This is also a great time to talk with your advisor about referrals to their sister organizations for career development in the Career Center or about the big life change with Counseling Services.