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The Gatepost Editorial: Advocate for yourself during advising 

By The Gatepost Editorial Board


Academic advising season is upon us again, and many students have already begun by selecting courses and scheduling meetings with their advisors.


This process can be anxiety-inducing as students find out which classes are or are not being offered, determine whether they need another general education course, or sign up for a class they are retaking.


The Editorial Board of The Gatepost understands how tedious this process can be, but there are a few steps you can take to mitigate any stress you might have. 


This advice applies whether this is your first or last time registering for classes.


The first step is determining when and how to meet your advisor and together, figuring out how each class is bringing you one step closer to graduation. 


The next step is to determine which classes are being offered the following semester and what an ideal schedule would look like for you. 


If you have family or work obligations outside of school, let your advisor know! They might be able to ensure these accommodations can be met depending on what classes you need.


You can contact your advisor through their email, or by making an appointment with them through Starfish. If you have trouble contacting your advisor, the chair of your department is also available for academic advising.


It may seem as if some of the classes you need to graduate cannot be changed, but there is sometimes some leniency in requirements. Talk to your advisor and department chair about the potential for a course substitution or the ability to take an independent study. 


There is almost always another option. 


Next, learn the format of the courses being offered. This is also crucial in developing next semester's schedule. 


If you enjoy the freedom of an asynchronous class but need help motivating yourself to complete the necessary work on your own, opt for a hybrid class instead. Hybrid classes provide a lot of freedom in your schedule, but you still meet and check in with your professor at least once a week, helping you stay on track.


Before you meet with your advisor, ask yourself what your learning style is. The Center for Academic Success and Achievement has links to videos explaining different ways to think about you learn and work. CASA also provides a link to a form from their website page in which you can provide a phone number and ask any question you might have about learning on campus. 


If there are two classes being offered under one domain requirement, pick the class with a professor with whom you are familiar. Take advantage of knowing what a professor's teaching style is like and what their expectations are for students. It might make all the difference when midterms and finals come around. 


The professor possibly already knows your learning style and can point you in the direction of success. Plus, building a stronger connection with a professor can be extremely helpful when you need to ask someone you trust and admire for a letter of recommendation.


All of these small decisions might seem minute now, but every class you take brings you one step closer to an internship, graduate school, or a job after college. You want to be sure you are picking your classes intentionally - not just to fulfill requirements.


Come up with questions for your advisor before meeting with them. Don't go into the appointment blindly. 


Here are some questions you might ask:


What are the options for fulfilling this requirement?


Are there any prerequisites I need to be taking for future classes?


How do I prepare for an internship in this department?


Am I able to add a minor or concentration to my degree?


These are just a few of the questions that could be posed during your advising appointment - but you can ask as many questions as you want!


Your advisor is not only available to you during advising periods. Do not worry about “bothering” your advisor. It is their job to support you throughout each semester you are at FSU. 


It is important to develop a good relationship with your advisor and department chair. They will most likely be with you throughout your entire collegiate career and want to support you however they can. 


That being said, if you are not enjoying your classes at Framingham State this semester, you might want to consider pursuing another major. You can also make an appointment with the Advising Center and ask if a different degree path might make next semester more enjoyable, educational, and rewarding. 


Do what works best for you. This is the key to having a successful academic career. 


Advocating for yourself is the best service you can provide for yourself during your advising appointments! 


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