Academic Advising

Academic Advising

WHO ARE ACADEMIC ADVISORS?

Academic advisors are faculty members who are ready to help students plan their academic programs, think about personal and career goals, and integrate their various experiences in order to make the most of their time at Macalester. Academic advisors are knowledgeable about graduation requirements and will use test scores, grades, and discussions with advisees to make informed recommendations about curricular choices. Academic advisors are also knowledgeable of institutional and community resources and will make appropriate referrals when a student requires assistance that is outside of the advisor's area of expertise.

Students begin with advisors who are their instructors in their First Year Courses. Those who enter Macalester as Transfer students are assigned an advisor based on their academic interests. After students declare their majors, typically in the second semester of the sophomore year, they will likely switch to an advisor in that department or program; they may, however, remain with their initial advisor, if that connection is strong and continues to prove beneficial. While students will only have one official advisor, guidance and mentoring is readily available from faculty and staff throughout the college. Students are encouraged to avail themselves of the many sources of support the college offers, beginning, but not ending, with their official academic advisor.

MUST STUDENTS DO WHAT ADVISORS RECOMMEND?

Academic advisors will listen to their advisees, point out appropriate curricular choices and help to sort out the complexities of the catalog and course schedules. The final decision about which courses to take, however, and with which activities to be involved, is left to the student. Students are also responsible for monitoring and meeting graduation requirements and for seeking out guidance and support in a timely manner. An advisor's approval is required to perform certain activities, such as accessing the registration system, and many college forms require the advisor's signature.

HOW AND WHEN SHOULD STUDENTS CONTACT THEIR ADVISORS?

All Macalester faculty members maintain regular office hours and students are encouraged to stop by for advice at those times. During registration periods advisors are ready to assist students with course selection and registration, program changes, and filing a major plan. Two advising weeks, one in each semester, have been designated to correspond with registration periods. However, it is wise for students to contact their advisors on a regular basis and to develop a good working relationship with him or her. Advisors can be most helpful when they know what an advisee is thinking about and with what types of activities he or she is involved.

Each advisor will have his or her preferred method of being contacted. Many advisors encourage requests for appointments or other simple questions via email. Some advisors maintain a sign-up sheet on their door for appointments with advisees and other students.