What’s the purpose of advising?
Quite simply, advising can help you get what you want out of your college experience.
Good advising will help you:
- identify what you want to study
- understand the relationship between your studies and your broader career and life goals
- find meaningful opportunities to pursue
- overcome obstacles and recover from setbacks
- learn how to seek out and process information and become a better problem solver
You should meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester.
What to Talk about with Your Advisor
The things you talk about with your advisor will change over time.
A good place to begin is talking with your advisor about your academic interests. These conversations can help you select a major or decide whether the one you chose before you entered BU is really the right fit for you.
Then, for many of our majors, there are multiple ways to meet your requirements. Once you’re settled in a major, talking with your advisor will help you understand and select among the possible pathways.
Your advisor can also help you decide what you want to learn through your general education requirements. You can meet these requirements in 1400+ courses offered through ten undergraduate schools and colleges. Your advisor can help you think about how to narrow down this selection and make purposeful choices, so that you can use the flexibility offered by the BU Hub to explore a field, a topic, or a way of thinking that interests you.
Over time, your advisor can also help you think through whether there are opportunities you want to pursue in addition to your major. Is there another area of study that interests you enough that you might want to minor in it? Is there something you’re curious about that you want to use an elective to explore?
In addition to talking with your advisor about academics, you should talk with your advisor about opportunities outside the classroom that will help you develop different skills. Are there student clubs on campus that might help you explore your interests or give you leadership experience? What would it look like for you to do research or an internship in your field? What international experiences are available to you? Your advisor can help you think about how to put together a rich, well-rounded undergraduate experience.
Boston University Mission Statement for Undergraduate Advising
BU’s mission statement for undergraduate advising reads:
Academic advising is integral to the teaching mission of the University and engages students in a collaborative process to explore academic and co-curricular opportunities as part of a plan to realize academic, career and life goals.
What does this mean in practice?
It means that you and your advisor will work together to craft an educational plan that aligns with your values, interests, and goals.
As part of this process, your advisor will help you…
- explore broadly to identify your interests.
- set goals for your undergraduate experience, based on your values and interests.
- consider the role of academic requirements, electives, and cocurricular activities in meeting your goals.
- think about how to include high-impact educational experiences (such as study abroad, research, and internships) in your plan.
- identify campus resources that will help you achieve your goals, including opportunities for career exploration and professional development.
- assess your progress and adjust your plan over time, as appropriate.
Academic advising requires meaningful interactions between advisors and students. Therefore, advisors and students are expected to engage in at least one substantive advising conversation each semester.
“Good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience.”
– Richard J. Light, Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr. Professor of Teaching and Learning and Chair of the Harvard Assessment Seminars