How to Optimize Your Relationship With Your Academic Advisor

How to Optimize Your Relationship With Your Academic Advisor


By Rob Hassinger
In Military Education, Special Contributor

Communicating with your academic advisor is one of the most important aspects of being a college student. They are a wealth of knowledge and how you interact with them can have a direct impact on your academic success.

Be transparent with your advisor

There are steps that you, as student, can take in order to enhance this relationship. Providing all relevant information to the topic is a key factor in communicating with your advisor. Often times, students will approach their advisor with a question and leave out details which are material in nature, and in the middle of finding a result or course of action, the students introduces a new constraint to the situation. This is not a serious problem, but it does limit the efficiency in which your question can be answered, especially when corresponding through e-mail.

Reach out for semester planning, and more on your academic progress

Advisors will typically contact you directly throughout the duration of your program to see how you are doing and offer any helpful advice, but you should still contact them directly when you are experiencing an issue. No matter what university you attend, your advisor, or advising team is in place to support your academic progress so never hesitate to contact them at the onset of any issues. Typically, this is the best time to catch problems because they can be remedied before any collateral damage can be sustained. For example, if you’re using federal funding for your education then meet with your advisor for Federal Student Aid (FSA) semester planning. Due to this type of funding you’ll be assigned semester dates, and can only register for classes at those times. To avoid running into issues registering make sure to hand in your intent form by the end of your FSA year.

Keep your handbook close

Finally, make sure to be informed about university policy. If your university has a student handbook, read it over, become familiar with the policies that could affect you directly so you and your advisor will both be able to interpret policy together as a team, as opposed to having the policy interpreted to you, leading to more miscommunication. This simple step will enhance your ability to work together with your advisor exponentially. The less time that is taken to explain university policy, the more efficient your advising session will be and the more likely it is that you will have a positive exchange characterized by excellent communication.

About the Author

Rob Hassinger is currently an Education Coordinator for the DC Metro area at American Military University.He served four years in the United States Marine Corps as a Bulk Fuel Specialist. He holds a bachelor’s in legal studies from American Military University (AMU) and an MBA from AMU as well.