Academic Advising - FAQ
What is academic advising?
“Academic advising is an educational process that, by intention and design, facilitates students’ understanding of the meaning and purpose of higher education and fosters their intellectual and personal development toward academic success and lifelong learning.” (NACADA, 2004)
Who performs academic advising?
Faculty members serve as academic advisors and should approve all course schedules. Students are assigned to faculty in their majors or preprofessional fields.
How to Prepare for Advising
- Review Harding’s undergraduate catalog, reading the requirements and course descriptions to learn what's available.
- Plan ahead. How many semesters do you plan to be here? Do your plans include taking classes during the summer and/or the two week intersession period? Are you considering studying abroad?
- Think about how many classes you will take during the semester. Many experts recommend to be most effective, students should consider spending two to three hours of study/research, per class, each week outside of class time.
- Obtain a schedule of classes, or view the courses offered on Harding’s web site.
- Attempt to construct your schedule, based first, on courses you are required to take as a new, first-time-in-college freshmen. For example, all freshmen are required certain Bible Requirements. Select your Bible class first and build your other classes around it.
How do I get assigned an advisor?
When you declare your major by submitting the Major/Minor Change form in the Registrar Forms box on the Student Tab in Pipeline, the Office of the Registrar will assign an advisor in your area of major.
When do I declare a major?
Students may declare a major at any time, and are ordinarily expected to declare a major by the end of the sophomore year. After completion of 60 hours of undergraduate studies and before completing 75 hours of undergraduate studies, students must complete a degree evaluation with their academic advisor and take the signed evaluation to the Office of the Registrar. This requires that the student has a declared major. The Office of the Registrar places a hold on students who do not have a degree evaluation on file. This hold may prevent registration for the following semester and cannot be removed until the form is completed and submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Students may change majors at any time after declaration.
Do I get a new advisor when I change majors?
Yes. The Office of the Registrar will assign a new advisor when a major is changed. Students may check their major and advisor information in Pipeline on the Student Tab in the Academic Profile box.
How do I get an advisor if I’m undeclared?
Students who have not declared a major are assigned to the Director of Academic Advising in the Center for Student Success where they will be assisted with advising until a major is chosen. Career Counseling and Learning Enhancement Strategies are also available through Academic Advising.
Who should I contact if I'm not sure my major and advisor info is correct in Pipeline?
If you submitted your change of major in Pipeline using the Major/Minor Change form in the Registrar Forms box on the Student Tab and the information is not updated within five (5) working days, please email the Office of the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most of the time, updates will occur quickly unless the changes are made when the offices are closed during holidays.
What does an academic advisor do?
The academic advisor’s role in the academic advising process is to:
- Be accessible
- Develop a caring relationship with advisees
- Be knowledgeable about academic requirements, including being familiar with the catalog and graduation requirements
- Help students define and develop realistic educational goals and career plans
- Assist students in planning a program consistent with abilities and interests and in selecting a course of study
- Inform students about special services available to them, including the Career Services, Academic Resources, Writing Lab, etc., and refer students to these resources when necessary
- Assist in making out a semester schedule
- Answer any questions that students may have and be the go-to person for students during challenging times
- Check on the student's academic progress throughout the semester
What if I don’t like/take the recommendations of my advisor?
You, the student, are ultimately responsible for all academic choices and decisions; therefore, ignoring an advisor’s recommendation is a choice. It’s a safe assumption that the advisor is more knowledgeable than you about your major and academic policies, which could in turn create problems in meeting graduation requirements. If you feel unsure about your advising, feel free to contact the chairman of the department for a second opinion.
What is an advisee’s role in the academic advising process?
Being informed of your advisor’s name and office location. Students may use the "People Search" option on the Home Tab in Pipeline to get contact information for academic advisors. We also strongly encourage you to:
- Check HU email regularly; daily if possible
- Communicate regularly with your advisor, including before registration to review your prospective schedule and course of study
- Have an understanding of university polices, procedures, and degree and graduation requirements as outlined in the undergraduate catalog and student handbook
- Actively participate in the advising process in a cooperative manner
- Prepare for advising sessions, bring appropriate resources or materials, and a list of any questions or concerns
- Accept ultimate responsibility for your educational progress and career decisions
- Be open and honest with your advisor
- Follow through on actions identified during each advising session
Why Do I Need an Academic Advisor?
Advisors know a great deal about course and graduation requirements and specific HU policies. At Harding, we like to think of our advisors as individuals who assist “students to realize the maximum educational benefits available to them by helping them better understand themselves and to learn to use the resources of the institution to meet their specific educational needs” (Wes Haley).
Our goal is for our advisers to:
- Be accessible
- Develop a caring relationship with their advisees
- Be knowledgeable about academic requirements
- Help students define and develop realistic educational goals and career plans
- Assist students in planning a program consistent with their abilities, interests, values, and in selecting their course of study
- Inform students of special services available to them, including the Career Services, Academic Resources, Writing Lab, etc.
- Assist in making out a semester schedule
- Check on the student’s academic progress through the semester
In addition, your academic advisor can be a wonderful resource and may be able to write letters of recommendation for you when you graduate and pursue other goals, including entering graduate programs.
How Do I Get an Academic Advisor?
- When you declare a major, the Office of the Registrar assigns an advisor in your area of major.
- To see who your advisor is, log onto Pipeline, select the Student Tab. Your major and advisor are listed in the Academic Profile box. For instructions on how to declare your major, see "Declaring and Changing Majors" below.
- If you have a favorite teacher in your major that you have been working with and would like to have that person function as your advisor, check with the teacher to ask if she/he is willing to be your academic advisor. If the teacher agrees to become your new advisor, she/he must email the registrar's office at email@example.com and request to become your advisor.
- Contact information for your advisor may be located by using the "People Search" option in Pipeline. The "People Search" link is located in the "Quick Links" Box on the Home Tab. You may also contact Academic Advising for contact information for your advisor since we maintain a current list of faculty who function as advisors for specific majors.
- All students must have an academic advisor. If you need help getting an advisor assigned, please contact the Office of the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choosing a Major
Whether you’re currently considered “undeclared” or just wondering if your original major doesn’t fit as well as you’d like, remember that this is the time to explore the opportunities that will be the best fit for your skills, abilities and values.
It isn’t unusual for college students to feel unsure about the choice of a major. Many students change majors at least once during their college career. If you are considering changing your major, or even if you're pretty sure that you know what major is best for you, we suggest you review the steps below.
How to Explore New Majors
- Assess your personal characteristics
- What are your interests?
- What are your abilities?
- What are your values?
- Think about the nature of the majors you are considering
- Do the required courses in the majors you are considering sound interesting?
- What are the types of jobs these majors will help you qualify for upon graduation?
- How many semester hours of course work will it take to graduate with a bachelor’s degree?
- How much math and/or science is required in these majors?
- Do you have the ability to handle math and/or science-intensive majors?
- Is foreign language required in these majors?
- What cumulative GPA is required for admission to these majors?
We strongly recommend that you take advantage of Harding University’s Center for Student Success by contacting Academic Advising at email@example.com or by calling 501-279-4531. Academic Advising can administer testing to help identify your personality type, help you pick a major, help you decide what career is best for you, and provide career counseling.
When Do I Need to Choose a Major?
If you are an undeclared, degree-seeking student, you are required to select a major by the time you have completed your sophomore year.
All students who have already declared a major should contact faculty in their department for advising.
Declaring and Changing Majors
- Log onto Pipeline.
- Select the Student Tab.
- Go to the Registrar Forms box.
- Select Major/Minor Change.
- This will open a form which will allow you to make changes to your account.
- Areas marked with an * must be completed in order for the form to process. (If you do not have an HU box #, please enter "None" in that box or your form will not process.)
- Press the NEXT button at the bottom of each page. You will eventually be asked if you want to change your major.
- When you select this option, you will be asked to select your degree first (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc.)
- You will need to select your major next.
- Be sure to choose NEXT until you get a message that your form has been submitted.
- The Office of the Registrar will assign you a new advisor and update your records. Please allow several working days for Pipeline to show your updated information. Most of the time, the updates will occur overnight. However, during very busy times, updates may take longer.
- Please contact your new advisor to schedule a meeting to review your schedule to make sure you are on track for your major. Contact information for your advisor may be located by using the "People Search" option in Pipeline. The "People Search" link is located in the "Quick Links" Box on the Home Tab. You may also contact Academic Advising for contact information for your advisor since we maintain a current list of faculty who function as advisors for specific majors.
How is College Different from High School
Many students, especially those who do not have a family member who has been to college, think college is pretty much like high school, only bigger. There are some very big differences. Some students who did not do well in high school “blossom” in college. Others have a more difficult time adjusting to college life and do not do as well as they did in high school.
To be prepared, it helps you to know what differences lie ahead. Though academic requirements and student life vary depending on the college you attend, there are basic differences that apply in almost every case. Here are some ways you can expect college to be different from high school:
Because you will probably be over 18 years old in college, you will be treated like an adult. This is because you will be an adult. As an adult, you will have to make sure you do what you're supposed to do, you will be responsible for the way you live, and you will have to meet greater expectations from others.
In college, you will take on more responsibility for your decisions, actions, and lifestyle. This is part of being on your own. Be prepared to be held accountable for your behavior. There is no one to blame for not waking up on time, not eating properly, or not washing your clothes.
People will expect more of you and expect you to develop in your own unique way in college. Some people will expect you to go beyond the minimal standard expected in high school, so you can grow and develop as a person. You will also begin to realize what a great effect you can have on yourself and others.
Different Ways of Teaching
Some subjects are taught differently in college. In high school, for instance, history may have been mainly names, dates, and places. You had to memorize facts and figures. In college, those facts are not nearly as important as why certain events and actions happened. In college English, less time may be spent on grammar and spelling (it is assumed you have mastered these) and more on writing creatively and criticizing literature. If you major in one of the sciences, you will find that in your junior and senior years, you may be designing your own experiments rather than doing exactly what everyone else in your class is doing. In foreign languages, you will be reading literature in its original language.
Be open to falling in love with a subject in college that you may have disliked in high school. Two-thirds of college students graduate with a different major than the one they had in mind when they started -- often because they found an old subject taught in a new and more interesting way.
Different ways of Learning
Many classes will be organized differently from high school. Some will be big lecture classes followed by small discussion groups. Some professors will have you read books, write papers, and discuss both in class. Grading will be different, too. In some classes, you will have nothing but essay tests. In others, your entire grade will be determined by a single large paper or project. You may even have classes in which a group project is the primary grade.
Different level of Competition
In high school, you are often graded on whether you learn certain things. For example, there are standardized tests given to show that you have achieved a minimum level in certain subjects. In college, you are often graded “on the curve;” your grade is determined more by how well you did in relation to your classmates than on a minimum knowledge base. This means there is more one-on-one competition between students. For example, receiving an 85 percent on a test in high school may have automatically been a B. In college, if most people did better than that, it could be a C or C-.
You may have been in the top 10 or 15 percent of your high school class, but at college many of your fellow students were also in the top 10 or 15 percent of their high school classes and earning a high grade point average will take more effort.
Different day to day
High school is a place you go seven or eight hours a day, less than half the days of the year. Many colleges are set up to be your home--you will eat and sleep there, make new friends there, even do your laundry there. Therefore, chances are good that college will have an even greater effect on you than high school did. In fact, it will be a time in your life like no other.
Source: Adapted from Anne Arundel Community College – www.aacc.edu