Sunday, January 4, 2015

Academic Advising to Achieve Your Goals

Are you taking the right classes to enable you to work in the career field you want?  Most of the time we talk about graduating with a degree in ________(insert major here). What we seem to lose focus on is the career that major sets us up for. Ask yourself: Does this major give me the ability to pursue a career that incorporates my skill set (all those classes you just took) and do work that I find meaningful? Let's discuss some of the things you can do to get a better understanding of your academic path. 

One of the first things to do would be to make sure you are pursuing the major that gets you where you want to be. There's as old adage out there that if you want to be successful do what successful people have already done. Who is in the marketplace right now doing the work you want to do? Look up their resumes and see what they did. If you're really bold, contact those folks and ask them how they got to where they are. If they're human (no one actually wants to be a Twilight vampire right?) they'll probably want to tell you all about themselves. 

Once you have a direction you need to make sure the academic path you are on is providing what you need. Are you balancing general education requirements with those of your major?  What are the timing implications of the individual classes? Stated a differnt way - will certain classes only be offered at specifi times or are they offered every semester. Is there a specialty sub-discipline within the major that speaks to you or do you want to be a generalist?  

These are tough questions that require more than just a passing answer. If you are signing up for classes and don't have a clear understanding of how this semester fits into your career pursuit then you are wasting your time and money. You should absolutely sit down with an academic advisor at your school, but you should also consider sitting down with an independent academic advisor ( for example).

An independent advisor will discuss your larger goals with you and may even be able to help with technical course material/advising (you should definitely pick me). Individual school advisors tend to focus more on general education requirements because they are one of 5-10 advisors on staff for a student population of thousands. Having someone available to you to help map-out a path to get you to your career can add value to your college years. Hey, they might even be able to help when that career path changes (like that ever happens, like 5 or 6 times). 

No comments:

Post a Comment