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Intro to Academic Advising: Seeing Your Advisor


Academic Advising at Siena College


     1.  What Advising Is
     2.  What Advising Is Not
     3.  What You Can Expect from Your Advisor
     4.  What your Advisor Expects from You

Academic advising is one of the most important services that is available to you as a student of Siena College. Your professors want to help you to get the most out of your academic program here. This web page has been prepared to help you understand the advising process and to give you practical information about all of Siena's academic programs.

1. What Advising Is
The word "advising" suggests "recommending," "suggesting," and "informing." The prerequisite for all this is listening. Faculty Advisors can be of great help to you in shaping your college program while still letting you make most of the decisions. An Advisor's input is especially important to first-year students and to those who have not yet declared majors--however, Advisors also play an important role for students who have already decided on a course of study.

  • Good advising entails
    Helping you to discern what direction your course of studies should take. This involves discussing your personal and academic interests, and your possible career goals. In order to help advisors with this task, the School Offices prepare and distribute folders for all new students. This gives faculty advisors some idea of the background of their advisees. These folders initially contain each student's admissions application, high school transcript, and admissions essay (for transfer students, the folders contain the admissions application and the transcript from the previous undergraduate institution.)
  • Helping you to make intelligent choices for courses (which is not the same as choosing courses for you!), while making sure that the college's requirements are met. Advisors try to make sure that students take all necessary core courses and peripheral requirements for the major. However, you should remember that it is your responsibility to fulfill the college's requirements for your major as set forth in the college catalog that was published the year you entered Siena. Your CAPP report is the ONLY valid source of what requirements you have and have not met toward graduation. (What is a CAPP report and why is it important?)
  • Answering general questions that you may have about the college's curriculum. We encourage you to see your advisors as the "clearinghouse" for such questions. Unfortunately, much information is passed around on the "student grapevine," which is notoriously unreliable. If you have a question your first thought should be: "Ask my advisor."
  • Taking an interest in your academic progress, and helping you if you are in academic trouble. Advisors of first-year students are especially careful about monitoring the academic progress of their advisees, particularly those who are in academic trouble. All new students (including transfers) receive official midterm grade reports for their first year at Siena. After this, grade reports are only generated for certain students (e.g., those on academic probation).
  • Making you, the student, take responsibility for your own course of study.

While we can be helpful in all of the above-mentioned ways, you must learn to take initiative to see your programs through to completion.

2. What Advising is not

Academic advising is not:
- Merely providing you with your Alternate PIN number so that you can register for courses! Unfortunately, both students and faculty members have sometimes reduced it to this.

- Having  a faculty member choose courses for you or decide what major you should declare. (Of course, as noted above, we do need to make sure that certain courses are taken.) Good advising empowers students to make meaningful choices that direct their studies toward a goal.

- Personal counseling. Students that have personal problems that are interfering with studies, are ordinarily referred to the Center for Counseling and Student Development in Foy Hall 110. 

3. What You Can Expect From Your Advisor

You can expect your advisor to be available to you for consultation on the matters noted above (What Advising Is). Your advisor should make his or her office hours available to you. You can get in touch, by phone, e-mail, etc. You can look this up at Find your Advisor's Name and Office Hours.

Your advisor will want to meet with you at least a few times a semester. This is especially true for first-year students, who should meet with their advisor three times in the fall semester:

  1. to get acquainted (by the end of September)
  2. to discuss midterm grades and get instructions for registration
  3. to prepare for registration

Advisors are sensitive to the fact that some students need more advising than others. You may have more or fewer meetings with your advisor, as your needs require.

4. What Your Advisor Expects From You

  • Come in for consultation several times during the semester. You should make an appointment to meet individually during the first six weeks of class. Contact your advisor at any time as questions about your academic program, or other issues arise.
  • Talk about dropping a class in mid-semester BEFORE you do it.
  • Come in if you are in academic trouble.
  • See your advisor before registering for classes, and get his or her recommendations for courses. Print out a copy of your CAPP Report from Web for Students and discuss what it means. Look carefully at what requirements you have and have not met for your degree. (What is a CAPP report and why is it important? )
  • Meet to obtain your Alternate PIN number before web registration begins.

5. Problems With Your Advisor

If you have any problems with your advisor, or if you need to change your advisor, contact your School Office.