Your First Meeting

With the implementation of BannerWeb advising during the summer, most first-year and transfer students arrive with a full or near-full schedule of courses for fall semester. That has reduced the stress involved in these first individual meetings with advisees, however, these meetings remain important to student success.

During this meeting, it is a good idea to:

  • Spend a little time talking informally – Look for common interests, share some personal information (about family, hobbies, etc. if comfortable, or about research interests, academic history, etc…), and begin building a sense of comfort and trust. Information provided on the Student Information for Academic Advisor form (available in BannerWeb on the Student Profile page), is a good starting point.
  • Briefly overview graduation requirements – While it is a good idea to talk about this more fully in a later meeting (students are often overwhelmed when they first arrive and aren't yet ready to take in much new information), it can be helpful to talk for a few minutes about needing 35 units for graduation, successful completion of a major, and satisfaction of general education requirements. You might point them to the catalog and let them know the importance of the catalog as a resource and policy document.
  • Review fall courses – Spend a few minutes looking at the student's schedule on BannerWeb. Be certain they are getting comfortable with BannerWeb and GradTracker. (You may want to recommend the registrar's online tutorials and encourage them to talk with older students for pointers.) A few critical things to look for:
    • Number of units. It is rarely a good idea for first-year students to start out with a heavier-than-normal course load. Slightly lighter than possible can be helpful for most who will be going through plenty of adjustment issues.
    • Too many similar courses. A student taking FYS, History, English, Philosophy, and Religion will likely drown in the assigned reading and writing. Students who struggled with math and science in high school may not want to start with physics and calculus during fall semester. Raise these concerns with your advisee.
    • Lack of exploratory courses. Students are often so concerned with satisfying general education requirements that they forget to explore possible majors. Understanding that up to 1/3 of a student's courses are electives can help students be less stressed during their first semester as they try and balance requirements with courses/areas of interest.
    • WELL 100 and FYS. Both are to be completed during the first semester.
  • Discuss your role as advisor – Once a student has a schedule that seems appropriate, spend a few minutes talking about what you believe to be your responsibilities as an advisor and what you believe are the student's responsibilities as an advisee. Let them know that you're to serve as a valuable resource.
  • Discuss anything that might need a referral – Though this can require a careful touch, you may want to ask your advisees if there are medical, accommodations, or other issues that might impact the student's academic performance or adjustment to the university.
  • FERPA - Discuss FERPA and have the student complete the online FERPA waiver card.
  • Consider setting up a follow-up appointment for mid-semester, especially if the student is anxious/unsure about their course schedule.