It’s hard to believe the first semester is almost over. Right now, students are looking forward to winter break and the opportunity to do nothing academic for a few weeks. However, once winter break ends, it’s back to the college grind.
But before students can feel the freedom of their winter break, they have to register for next semester. So while they are studying for their English final, they are probably thinking about what classes they need to take next semester, only to discover they have no idea what to take.
This is where Academic Advising comes in.
I had heard from friends and roommates that in order to register for classes next semester, I had to make an appointment with an adviser. For freshmen students who want to declare a limited access major or are undecided, the Center for Advising in Student Services is the place for you. Approximately 8,000 students are assigned there, and of course, the majority of that number is freshmen.
Being a mass communications major, I knew that I needed to see an adviser. Plus, after taking dual enrollment courses in high school, I wanted to make sure that all of my credits transferred without a problem and to see what I still needed to do to meet the general education requirements. Talk about a handful.
My appointment took about 15 minutes, but in that short amount of time, all of my questions were answered and I was given a better idea as to what I needed to do for next semester and for the next few years. My adviser gave me plenty of advice as to what I should take and provided me with everything I needed to prepare myself to become a true mass communications major.
Making an appointment is simple. Students visit the Center for Academic Advising’s website http://www.sa.usf.edu/advising and pick an adviser with whom they would like to meet. Once students have chosen an adviser, they view their calendar to see when the adviser has an open spot. This could take a bit of time, depending on when students want an appointment. After students have made their appointment, they are done.
My advice for students going in for their appointment is to bring paper, a pen and any questions that they may have. Advisers are there to help and they do a wonderful job.
So why should students make an appointment? It is a good idea to start looking toward the future of a college career early. By visiting with an adviser, students are able to get more information about their major and what they need to do to succeed. They can find out what courses are best suited for them so they are getting the maximum amount for their tuition.
Once students know what they want to do next semester, they should find out when they can register and get an idea of what their schedule should be. The earlier students register, the better their chances at getting the classes they want.
Of course, if students are lucky, things will be that easy. However, what happens when a needed class becomes unavailable?
There is hope. Students should always have a backup plan when it comes to registering for classes. If the class they need is not open, students should go to that class on the first day to see if someone doesn’t show up. Instructors will drop students from their classes if they do not show up on the first day; so one student’s loss could be another’s gain.
Students should not be afraid to meet with an adviser. They are here to help students to ensure they are successful in registering for classes. As long as students stay on the right track, with some advising, they will be successful in their majors of choice.
Olivia Hattan is a freshman majoring in mass communications.