Academic Read #14: Meeting Your Academic Advisor

From our Mission Statement: “In keeping with its Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic heritage and identity, Gonzaga models and expects excellence in academic and professional pursuits and intentionally develops the whole person – intellectually, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.”

Welcome to the adventure of university study. You knew how to be successful in high school. Your acceptance to Gonzaga confirms that. You can succeed here as well. But do not be fooled into thinking that continuing to do just what you did in high school will assure your success at Gonzaga. It won’t. Why? The educational process is structured differently at the university level. That difference involves both more choices and more responsibility on your part. So, beginning with New Student Orientation, step up to the greater freedom and responsibility that will be yours.

Gonzaga wants you to have ambitious aspirations for your time here and for your lives after graduation. Faculty and staff are dedicated to assisting you as you make choices and organize yourselves to achieve your goals. A key resource toward your success is your assigned academic advisor. Whether you know exactly what you intend to study, or plan to spend your first year exploring and discovering to what field your intellectual and professional passions might lead, you need your academic advisor.

Your academic advisor is a faculty member or professional advisor who has been where you are – beginning college. Your advisor knows things you need to learn about navigating university education at Gonzaga. Your advisor can put you in touch with offices on campus that can assist you in exploring your interests and help if you are having academic difficulty. Your advisor can be a sounding board as you calibrate to the level of expectation and independence of thought expected of university students. And, your advisor can engage you in conversation about or connect you with others who can converse with you about your educational and career goals and ways to achieve them.

Here are some guidelines to help you get the most out of your advising relationship as you begin your time at Gonzaga:

• Attend the meeting with your academic advisor that is part of Orientation. Take questions you need answered to be ready to go to class the first day to that meeting.
• Become familiar with curriculum requirements and track your progress towards graduation. It is your responsibility to know and comply with all GU academic policies, procedures, and deadlines.
• Initiate regular contact with your academic advisor, minimally once per semester.
• Use advising sessions effectively: make appointments, arrive on time, bring needed materials, ask specific questions.
• Take responsibility for decisions regarding your academic career and for your academic performance.
Orientation includes a designated time for you to meet with your academic advisor. Show up. The meetings take place on Monday, September 1, beginning right after Academic Convocation. Don’t miss your meeting with your advisor.

Patricia O’Connell Killen, Ph.D. is Gonzaga’s Academic Vice President. As a graduate of Gonzaga, she knows what it is like to be excited and maybe a bit nervous about being a new first-year student.

IGNITE Question: What questions do you already have for your academic advisor? Have them ready for your first meeting during Orientation Weekend!

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