What is a Proactive Advisee? How can I become one?
Defining pro·ac·tive (adj)
- Taking the initiative by acting rather than reacting to events in a passive way
- Taking a practical, hands-on, and “can do” attitude
- Leads to excellence in managing matters and dealing with problems and difficulties
- A sensible or useful approach that is likely to be effective
A gradual development. During your first term in college, things are crazy enough just getting started. As you get ready for advising and course registration for your first winter term and for every term thereafter, you have an important choice to make about how you approach your education, potential careers and your future. You can decide to become proactive.
Your advisor will expect you to be looking ahead but may or may not provide specific training in becoming a proactive advisee. This web page (and most of this website) is designed to help you make that transition.
Tools available on this site: (please read them and apply what you can)
- “What should I try to accomplish” for whatever year applies to you
- “Field of Study” questions (includes the undecided pages)
- “How to select courses”
- “How to work toward a four-year plan that grows with you”
- AC Catalog pages on “General Educational Objectives” for DRs/justification of DRs
Becoming a proactive advisee starts with small steps:
- Actively seek to understand/clarify your own strengths, values and abilities
- Identify your vocational heroes (in jobs/careers you admire)
- Investigate the paths others have taken to find their careers (including your parents)
- Suggest possible classes, based on your potential future(s), interests, or DR status
You will move on to issues such as:
- Actively starting to sort out the field of study issues (ask lots of questions)
- Identifying the academic division with the strongest appeal if you can - Natural or Social Sciences, Fine Arts and Humanities
- Looking into the most likely majors within the division and possible careers
- Learning the aspects of a flexible four-year plan, and beginning your own plan
- Listing out classes for potential majors and looking up “terms and times” for them
- Beginning to consider pre-requisites, and how courses are “stacked” by year
Check with your advisor and others regularly (consider multiple “advisors”):
- Identify where you are in the process of major selection and career choices each term
- Anticipate the complex questions before the rush of advising/registration
- Plan and talk about not only next term, but next year and the year beyond that
- Come to advising sessions with a number of ideas or plans
- Don’t be satisfied if your advisor just signs your form; make sure you are on track!
Attitude matters. With a proactive attitude, you can see the four years of college as a puzzle where the goal is to maximize position, maintain flexibility and achieve the highest number of “wishes” as you gradually move from overwhelming choices down to your “right livelihood.” You won’t sit back and let others “give” you classes or solutions to decisions you must make yourself. You won’t be a victim of circumstances either; you’ll get out and see what can be done about wherever you find yourself.
Lasting benefits. As a proactive advisee, you will be able to make informed choices, to identify consequences and to take action. You learn valuable skills that can be taught or used to encourage others. And being proactive is an attitude that transfers to just about any other aspect of your life!