The advising system at Alma College
All students who enroll at Alma College are assigned an academic advisor drawn from the ranks of faculty and staff. All have had advisor training and are familiar with the rules, procedures and resources available for students.
What advisors do. Your advisor can assist you with a number of things, including charting your path through college, as well as helping with academic skills and course scheduling, and pointing out ways to personalize your college experience. Advisors help with both normal and unusual situations you encounter, and can help you strategize your way through problems. They can connect you to potential careers based on your interests and skills. The page on “Advisor and advisee responsibilities” includes more useful information.
Important relationship. Most students report that having a good relationship with their advisor was an important and satisfying part of their Alma Experience. Advisors differ in their style, from laid back to more active, and in their personal characteristics. Your needs are unique (although there are commonalities), so finding the right match is important if you are to work together effectively.
Initial assignment. Initial advisor assignments are made on the basis of your application and the interest survey you returned to the college. Since your interests are likely to change rapidly, changing advisors may be necessary during your career at Alma. Remember, it’s all about setting up the best situation for you, and advisors understand that changes might occur. They will understand your need to grow.
If you would like to change advisors:
- Talk to potential advisors. They must agree to “take you on” so look for a good fit.
- Obtain a “Change of Advisor” form from the Registrar.
- Complete it. Have it signed by your new advisor and return it to the Registrar.
- Your former advisor will receive a note to send your file on.
- Your new advisor will receive your file and take over helping you.
- There may be a delay as the paperwork is completed.
- For immediate help from your new advisor, bring an unofficial copy of your transcript.
Using “multiple” advisors, or the “Chat with many” approach: Although you can only have one “official” advisor who maintains your advising folder and signs forms, some students discuss their plans or gain perspective from multiple advisors and others. This arrangement is especially true for those in Pre-professional areas, or in Education. You would make appointments early in each advising cycle to develop possible strategies before meeting with your “official” advisor to develop a final plan.
If an advisor “fires” you! (It’s often not a bad thing!) Sometimes you “graduate” from your advisor before you graduate from college. An advisor may suggest you seek another advisor. Possible reasons include:
- You are ready to shift to an advisor within your major
- You need more focused help
- Your advisor was a transitional one and it’s time to move on
- Your advisor feels the match is not a prospering one
Remember, the relationship is a complex one. You need to find the right fit. Feel free to ask for advice on potential new advisors and make the switch promptly.