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Care and Feeding of Advisors

Academic Knox

By the way, you're not alone!

You have a colleague as you begin and throughout your Knox experience: your academic advisor. Your advisor isn't your guardian. Nor your supervisor. S/he is just what the term implies: someone to give you advice as you construct your own plan of study. Regardless of each advisor's academic field, all are committed to the liberal arts and have familiarity with many other departments besides their own. In fact, all Knox faculty serve as advisors, both to majors and to entering students alike!

Your advisor has a copy of your Knox application to help them get to know you even before you meet. From the very first encounter, advisors want to know about you as a person, about your experiences and aspirations, likes and dislikes, successes and failures, talents and, well, even things you don't do so well. Your advisor will regularly encourage you to think about where you have been and where you are headed. Knox faculty are principally academic advisors; but they also know that non-academic issues can play a big role in your academic success. Family issues back home, residence hall or other co-curricular concerns, and personal problems can all affect your academic experiences. Advisors won't pry into your personal life, but if there's something going on, they can point you to College resources that can help. You should feel comfortable in raising relevant personal or family issues in discussions with your advisor.

There are things you can do to ensure a productive relationship with your advisor. You can do your homework, i.e., explore course offerings and sort out your ideas and priorities before you meet with your advisor. (It's o.k. to be undecided about some things but you'll find it most beneficial when you present your advisor with a preliminary plan and ask for a reaction!) You can be open, that is, willing to share your concerns with your advisor, including any personal issue that may play a role in your academic planning. Students can even take an interest in their advisors and ask them what they are teaching this term, how long they've been at the College, what choices they made as an undergraduate! And you can keep them informed: you're likely to hear from them periodically throughout the term, asking how things are going. Feel free to e-mail your advisor periodically to let them know-even before they ask!

TECHNICAL STUFF: More on Academic Advisors

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