How Academic Advising Can Help You on Your Path to Graduate School
By Kendra, IvyWise Academic Advisor
If grad school is in your future, it’s important to have ample preparation and support in order to have the best chance of admission to your best-fit programs. Many prospective graduate students start the graduate admissions journey while still completing their undergraduate degree. For those current college students preparing for the graduate admissions process, guidance from an academic advisor can put you on the right path to achieving your graduate education goals.
What is Academic Advising?
Academic advising is the holistic support and guidance a student receives from an academic advisor. Academic advisors are designated faculty or staff members at your college or university that understand the policies and opportunities available to you at your campus. In short, an academic advisor might assist you with:
- Choosing classes
- Building out an academic plan
- Selecting second majors or minors
- Connecting to resources, like tutoring or the career center
- Empowering you to navigate higher education to reach your personal, academic, and professional potential
Who Are My Academic Advisors?
Academic Advising can look very different from school to school. At some colleges, academic advisors are full-time staff members whose entire job is dedicated to serving students in an advising capacity; most will even have master’s degrees in related fields. At other colleges or universities, professors are expected to serve as ad hoc advisors to students. Some school-based academic advisors have very large caseloads (of hundreds of students), whereas others might have a more manageable caseload. A recent survey showed that only 55% of participating students had received advising on graduation requirements. Policies vary wildly by institution with some schools requiring that students meet with their advisor regularly and some where students must find and reach out to an academic advisor themselves. Given all of these differences, advising services can vary in terms of quality. In order to maximize your experience with your school-based academic advisor, you should aim to meet with them early and consistently in order to develop good rapport.
You can also find an academic advisor at IvyWise. Unlike many school-based advisors, IvyWise academic advisors have extremely small caseloads, which means they have ample time to get to know you really well and support you throughout your undergraduate career. With such strong rapport developed, IvyWise academic advisors are able to provide you with bespoke recommendations and advice throughout your undergraduate studies. Unlike school-based advising services, nothing at IvyWise, including your academic plan, is one-size-fits-all.
Why is Academic Advising Important? What Are the Benefits?
Academic advising plays an important role in determining whether an undergraduate student will be satisfied with their institution and overall college experience. In fact, researchers discovered that students have rated academic advising as the second most important element of their college experience – it was only second to the quality of the courses.
Academic advising can mitigate confusion as you navigate the offerings at your college or university. As mentioned, an academic advisor can assist with building out your academic plan. Understanding course sequences and prerequisites, as well as study abroad and internship options, all while ensuring you have a manageable and balanced schedule each term, is an art that academic advisors have mastered. By meeting with your advisor and discussing your strengths, weaknesses, and goals, you can save yourself the headache of putting the complicated puzzle together by yourself and receive an academic plan tailored to you. The result? A streamlined and confusion-free academic plan and student experience.
Additionally, academic advising can help open students up to new curricular and social opportunities, like different majors or minors, clubs, and affinity groups that they might not have otherwise considered. These types of discussions benefit you because they can broaden your view of yourself and the opportunities you may pursue, including graduate school.
How Can an IvyWise Academic Advisor Help on My Path to Graduate School?
IvyWise academic advisors are former school-based academic advisors and former admissions officers. Since all IvyWise academic advisors have worked in graduate-level admissions offices, they are able to approach advising conversations with a lens that is keenly aware of what it takes to be competitive for graduate, law, medical, or business school admissions.
Unlike your school-based academic advisor, your IvyWise academic advisor will be able to help you develop your personal brand and craft your transcript and resume in a way that will give you a competitive edge for graduate school. While your school-based academic advisor is primarily concerned with you meeting graduation requirements, your IvyWise academic advisor can also approach each conversation with graduate school prerequisites and admissions in mind so that you start building your applicant profile early.
To maximize the opportunities available to you as an undergraduate student, IvyWise academic advisors can help you weigh the pros and cons of various internships, courses, and academic programs as they relate to graduate school admissions. Down the road, when you’re ready, you can seamlessly continue working with your trusted IvyWise academic advisor on your graduate school applications in an IvyWise graduate admissions program. Contact us today to see how our team of experts can make your academic and professional goals a reality.