University of Rochester

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Hurry Up and Advise Me

By Marcy Kraus, dean of freshmen and director of the College Center for Advising Services

“I have thirty minutes to meet you two weeks from today but I might need to leave early for an e-board meeting” said one of my overscheduled high-achieving advisees at the end of a recent meeting. There's no question that today's college students are busy; time not spent in the classroom is focused on updating Facebook, texting friends to schedule coffee, rehearsing for an upcoming dance performance, attending a hall council meeting, and of course studying. While the Millennial Generation comes to college with a significant will to achieve, the rush of trying to get everything done, often leaves limited time to spend contemplating some of the “big” college questions such as “what should I major in?” and “how should I plan for my life after college?” While the best advising is an ongoing conversation about academic goals and passions, choices and opportunities—a true process—students often view academic advising as a product (i.e., "just tell me what I need to do.")
Parents and academic advisors can encourage students to own their educational experiences and support the development of a good advising partnership by asking students to explore the following types of questions before meeting with their academic advisor:

While email is handy it cannot replace the inquiry and critical thinking that occurs when advisors ask questions and help their advisees formulate ideas and solutions. Students gain the most from their advising interactions by scheduling at least one substantive face-to-face cell-phone-free appointment with an academic advisor each semester. Spending time in advance of these appointments in self-reflective activities will help students better articulate their educational goals.