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What is an Academic Advisor?

Academic Advisors are professionally trained individuals who guide students through college to reach their academic goals. USI's Academic Advisors interact with students, evaluate individual needs, and teach students to become self-directed learners and independent decision-makers.

What can you expect from your academic advisor?

Students, you should expect your academic advisor to:

  • Listen to your goals and help you explore your path
  • Talk with you about your strengths, interests, and abilities
  • Explain your major requirements and help you build your graduation plan
  • Guide you through your plan of study, giving information about course requirements
  • Be accessible for questions and meetings (within reason)
  • Discuss your academic performance on a regular basis
  • Empower you to advocate for yourself
  • Offer advise about personal and academic concerns, such as roommates or study habits
  • Support you when navigating university procedures
  • Care about you as a person, providing a safe, inclusive environment
  • Provide detailed information regarding the admission process for your major if applicable
  • Refer you to other resources on campus as needed

What will your academic advisor expect from you?

Advisors expect students to:

  • Know your advisor’s name, office location, email address, and how to make an appointment
  • Check your USI email daily
  • Be proactive and seek out information about your major or interests
  • Ask for clarification as many times as needed if you do not understand a University process
  • Make good decisions each semester so you are on track for graduation
  • Be open to exploring new possibilities and opportunities
  • Inform your advisor if you are interested in study abroad or internships to properly plan for that in your plan of study
  • Meet with your advisor at least once a semester to discuss your academic plan and career goals
  • Come prepared to your advising meeting by reviewing your plan of study requirements
  • Notify your advisor of any changes that would affect your academic plan such as academic difficulties, life events, financial issues
  • Be knowledgeable about the policies, procedures, and requirements of your major
    Follow through with the appropriate actions after your advising meeting
  • Accept responsibility for your academic decisions
  • Understand that it’s ok to feel homesick, be lonely, or struggle in a class. Reach out to your advisor for help!

Your Advising Meeting

Preparing for your first appointment

As a student, you play an essential role in the academic advising process. It is your responsibility to monitor your academic progress and seek advising on a regular basis. Advisors can help you develop educational plans compatible with your career and life goals, and assist you in completing your chosen program quickly and successfully. To make the most of your advising sessions, you need to prepare for the sessions by taking the following steps:

  • Set up an appointment with your Academic or Faculty Advisor. It is a good idea to meet with your Academic or Faculty Advisor every semester and to schedule your appointment early in the semester.
  • Review your Degree Works Report. Your Degree Works Report explains your progress toward your degree and you can access  this through MyUSI by clicking on the "graduation cap" icon.
  • Write down any questions and concerns that you have about your Degree Works Report and bring these questions and your report to your advising session.
  • Review your USI Bulletin. The Bulletin explains all of the University and departmental requirements for all degrees.

At Your Advising Session:

  • Bring: your questions.
  • Establish a target graduation date in consultation with your advisor.
  • Work with your advisor to establish a program of study and an outline of the classes that you plan to take in the next 2 or 3 semesters.
  • Ask any and all additional questions that you might have. Your advisor can help you best when you explain your academic/career goals and concerns.
  • Keep notes from your advising meetings to remind you about what was discussed.

Follow Up:

  • Call, Text, or Email your Advising Center or Faculty Advisor with any questions.
  • Take charge of your academic progress! Advising is an important tool, but you are ultimately responsible for your success.