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The Do’s and Don’ts of Academic Advising Appointments

August 11th, 2017

At some point in your academic career, you may need to visit an academic advisor. Advisors help students know what to expect in classes, advise on course selection and calm panicked students’ fears about the academic aspects of university life.

Before booking a meeting with your advisor, follow these simple tips from Arts academic advisor Jenny Conroy to prepare and streamline your appointment to save both you and your advisor time.

DO write everything down, or record it for yourself in some way.

“Think about any questions you’ve had that an advisor might be able to help answer,” Conroy said. “Write them down so you don’t forget once you get to your appointment. Bring something along that you can record any information you get on - like a notebook, or a notes app on your phone.”

Advisors know that appointments can be information-heavy, so they won't mind you making notes or asking them to repeat key details.

“Sometimes in an appointment, you’ll get a lot of information, and if you try to store it all in your head, you’re more likely to forget,” she said. “Record any key points, courses, or any other information that comes from your conversation with your advisor. It will help you later.”

DON'T assume you have to make an appointment for every inquiry.

While some students feel more secure talking in person with an advisor, others may feel anxious meeting one-on-one or find it hard to keep appointments. Although this might discourage some students from contacting their advisors, Conroy says that lots of academic advising can be done electronically.

“Some students feel anxiety about going to an in-person meeting and may just avoid it altogether,” Conroy said. “I try to tell students that they can email me first with their questions, and then if it seems like something that might require more one-on-one time, we can discuss a follow-up appointment to delve further. I can help students with most things by email, and they have my email to look back on later if they want to review what was discussed. Every student is different, so I try to be able to help in any way, whether it be in person, over email, or on the phone.”

DO use the online resources.

There are so many online resources for academics at the University of Waterloo, it can be a little overwhelming to keep organized. Try making a bookmarks folder on your Internet browser that contains all the links to course information you'll need for your academic plans. If it becomes too daunting, advisors are available to help.

“The undergraduate academic calendar is the number one resource students should use,” Conroy said. “Any policy or regulation they must adhere to will be found here. The calendar can be overwhelming and advisors can help you use this tool to find answers to questions you may have.”

DON'T forget to review your past courses, grades and other academic info on Quest regularly.

It's hard to remember to review your past academic work when students are generally focused on upcoming work. But Conroy suggests reviewing your past courses, grades and standing to inspire questions about prerequisites and workloads.

“Absolutely take a few moments to go over your own record on Quest, as this may prompt some questions you didn’t even realize you had,” said Conroy.

Be proactive this fall term and take the time to organize your academic resources and become familiar with your own records. It will help your next advising appointment go smoothly, or better yet, save you the need to even make one! You'll be able to find answers to the basic questions in a matter of seconds and can skip the enrollment period panic with a clearer map of how your educational journey will proceed.


Academic Resources Worth Bookmarking

Important Dates: When school starts, ends, holidays and breaks

Exam Information

Tuition, Getting Fees Arranged, Course Adding and Dropping


Written by Leanna Walsh, Communications Assistant.