Who will make sure that I don't miss any deadlines and meet the graduation requirements?
As a student at Beloit College, you are responsible for planning and pursuing your own educational program, meeting deadlines and requirements. The tools to ensure this are available through a variety of resources (e.g. on-line check lists, MAP folder, the Catalog). Furthermore, you are encouraged to consult with your advisor, the academic advising office, and the registrar throughout your time at Beloit College.
What does an advisor do?
Your Initiatives (First-Year and Sophomore-Year) advisor helps you with transitioning to college life and discovering strategies that work for you to be a successful student. Your advisor also helps you to learn and interpret the mission and goals of the college and develop your own goals in the context of a liberal arts education. Your advisor also assists with your continued academic and social integration as you develop a MAP (My Academic Plan). Your Initiatives advisor also acts as consultant as you work towards self-understanding, setting goals and utilizing the resources of Beloit College effectively. Once you have declared a major, you are assigned an advisor in that department who will mentor you, help you to achieve the goals that you established, or realign them if necessary. [Also see Roles and Responsibilities]
Your Beloit College experience is most rewarding when you build a strong relationship with a faculty advisor. In addition to an excellent education, you may gain a valued friend and colleague in learning.
How was my advisor assigned?
Upon entering Beloit College, you were assigned to a FYI seminar based on your expressed choices. The faculty member of that FYI became your first advisor. You remain with your Initiatives advisor until you declare a major (no later than second semester of your sophomore year). If you declare a major before the second semester of your sophomore year, you will have a major advisor in addition to your Initiatives advisor. When a student declares a major, the department chair of that major coordinates the assignment of each student to the appropriate faculty member for advising.
If you are transfer student, you were assigned a general advisor to work with you during New Student Days and to assist you in connecting with faculty from different departments. As soon as you declare a major you will be assigned a faculty member from that department as your advisor.
If you are an exchange student, you were assigned an advisor (usually from the Office of International Education) to work with you during your time at Beloit College.
If you are an international student (transfer, degree-seeking or exchange) you have a second advisor from the Office of International Education to work with you in conjunction with your primary academic advisor(s).
Why wasn't I assigned an advisor in my major as a new student?
Many students come to college undecided regarding their area of study. Furthermore, many students who thought that they knew what they wanted to study change their plans (more than once) before they settle on a discipline. The Initiatives advisor will assist you in exploring your options while pursuing liberal arts breadth requirements. You are also encouraged to consult with faculty in various departments of interest as you explore different fields.
When I declare my major, will my advisor change?
If you declare a major before the end of your sophomore year, you will have two advisors: your Initiatives advisor and your major advisor (see above). Eventually, at the end of your sophomore year, most of your formal advising will occur with your major advisor, but you are not precluded from consulting with your Initiatives advisor (or any other faculty or staff member). If your Initiatives advisor is in the department in which you declare a major, s/he may also be your major advisor.
When/why should I contact my advisor?
You will need to meet with your advisor in order to:
- register for courses
- change courses
- declare a major/minor/program
- register for an underload or an overload
- petition the Academic Performance Committee (aPC) for an exception to an academic regulation
These actions require an advisor's signature, or the release of an advising hold, to verify that you have discussed your decision with your advisor.
You will also want to meet with your advisor to:
- develop your MAP (My Academic Plan)
- obtain assistance with academic issues (e.g. alert slips, improving academic performance)
- find out about specific, appropriate opportunities
- plan a schedule of courses
- clarify policies, procedures, requirements
- discuss choices
- identify campus resources that would assist you.
What makes an optimal advising situation?
- Make an appointment or use regular office hours. Advisors are less effective when students ask to have forms signed or ask questions "on the run."
- Have conversations with your advisor that are not always advising related – let your advisor get to know you and get to know your advisor.
- Prepare for advising meetings. Make lists of specific ideas or questions you wish to discuss. Be specific about the kind of advice you want; do not expect the advisor to ferret out the issues.
- Bring your MAP folder (with all relevant materials in it) to all meetings.
- Ask your advisor about opportunities/resources that may be relevant to you.
Will my advisor keep track of my degree requirements?
Since your education is your responsibility, the advisor is not responsible for keeping track of your progress towards meeting requirements. Advisors frequently review your situation as part of course planning, but you are responsible to be sure you have met all requirements for your degree. To ensure you are on course, frequently utilize the many resources available (on-line degree requirement check-off sheets, general distribution requirements check-off sheet, the catalog, departmental handouts) and consult with your advisor(s), the academic advising staff, and the Registrar.
Does my advisor tell me what to do?
Advisors provide perspectives to help you make choices. An advisor must sign forms, but the signature means only "I have given the student my best advice on this matter." Do not expect or ask your advisor to make decisions for you. All final decisions are yours.
How do I change advisors?
It is recognized that advisors have different styles and that effective advising depends on a reasonable relationship between advisor and student. Students with advising/advisor concerns are encouraged to consult with the Department Chair and/or the Faculty Director of Academic Advising to discuss the situation.