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  • Academic Support and Advising Center
    Siena Hall 215

First Year Students

Orientation: This five day program includes a variety of academic, student life and social components.  Some examples include:
           a) a brief discussion of education in the Franciscan tradition
           b) a discussion of practical suggestions and "dos and don’ts"
           c) an introduction to advising and support services.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the students’ academic orientation is their meeting with their advisor during the first week of classes, and their subsequent meetings with their advisor in the first semester.

First Friday Advising Meeting with all First-Year Students:

On the "First Friday" of the academic year, faculty advisors will meet with all their advisees as a group. The primary focus of this meeting is introductory. This is an excellent opportunity for advisors to give advisees a general overview of what advising is, to let students know how important advising is, and to set the groundwork for a positive advising experience. The intention is to let students know that we take advising seriously in hopes that they too will take it seriously.

Each advisor meets with his or her advisees for about 50 minutes during free period. The following things should be discussed during this session:

1. The importance of the overall educational experience they will have at Siena. Talk about the rationale for Siena’s core curriculum. Remember that most students change their majors at least once during their college years. Therefore, the focus of this meeting should not be on choosing a major, though you should certainly assure your advisees that you will help them in this discernment process. Mention that most majors have additional course requirements outside the Department (e.g., language requirements)—if your advisees have declared majors, talk about what these are. You might want to describe the typical number of electives that students have who major in your discipline or are in your School. It would be good to speak briefly of some of our minors, certificate programs, and of our interdisciplinary course offerings.

2. Introduce them to the specifics of academic advising. Tell them what they can expect of you, and what you expect of them. Briefly describe your role in the course registration process. Make sure they know your office hours, etc. We suggest you distribute a handout with essential advising information (sample of advising first year students). If possible, make arrangements for their first individual meetings with you, which should take place before the end of September. First-year students should be encouraged to see you at least three times during the fall semester: once to get acquainted, once to review their progress at the midterm, and once to prepare for course registration. Of course, they should also be encouraged to visit you whenever they have a problem or question about academics. SUGGESTION: Pass out post cards that the students can address to themselves and leave with you. You can use these as a reminder for the first meeting.

Finally, be sure to tell the students about the support services available to them: Counseling CenterCareer CenterWriting CenterTutoring, etc.

Follow-up Meetings:

As noted above, the initial meeting should be followed up at least twice in both semesters of a student's first year. You should meet after midterm grades are released to discuss the student's academic progress. This is also a good time to prepare the student for registration. Explain the process and remind the student to come to the next meeting with a trial schedule worked out.

The final meeting is devoted to preparing the course registration form. This should be done as close to registration time as possible, to account for course closings.