Friday, July 6, 2012

Be In Control While Paying Attention To Your Advisor.

Be In Control While Paying Attention To Your Advisor

Going to college is perhaps the most important and smartest decision that you will ever make in a your life. Therefore, you have to be in control.  Please do not make the mistake of letting an academic advisor choose you a major or concentration.  You need to be proactive.  What you need to do before meeting with an advisor is to research a career that you are interested in.  It is better to spend ample of time learning about your field of interest than finding during your junior year that you have made the wrong choice. They are plenty of resources out there for you.  You just have to make great use of them.

What you should do before seeing an academic advisor:

-Research the field that you are interested in.
-Talk to professionals who practice in that field.
-Prepare your questions ahead of time.

Questions to ask your academic advisor during the initial meeting:

-Number of students choosing that major.
-What career path are those students pursuing?
-How many spots are, nationally, available for students who decide to pursue a masters or a doctorate degree?
-How many students do actually apply to graduate school?
-How many students do get in to graduate schools?
-How easy is it for you to register for courses?
-Have students in the college you represent ever struggled to register for courses?
-Are there any internship opportunities for your major?
-Does the college match or pair students with internship programs?
-Will you be responsible to set up your own internship?
-How far will you have to travel to go to those internships?
-How many internship spots are available for students in your major?
-How many students do take advantage of those internship opportunities?
-The quality of life of students who, for certain foreseen or unforeseen reasons, don’t go to graduate schools right away?
-The job outlook right after you earn you bachelor’s degree?

As you choose a major, you have to keep in mind that you will have 6 months of grace period before starting to make payments toward your loans.  Unless you pursue another undergraduate or graduate degree, you will need to start repaying your loans after those 6 months.  In case a foreseen or unforeseen event occurs in your life, which will prevent you from pursing another degree, the loan company would not care much. You also cannot go back to the school to ask for a rebate check. You will basically be in your own. 

So, take time to research your field of interest.  Keep in mind that, as you choose a major, you have to think about the quality of life you want to have after you obtain that 4-year degree.  While certain concentrations of a bachelor’s degree will lead to a good paying job right after 4 years, others won’t.  There is no need to rush yourself and do everything that an academic advisor asks you to do.  You should consider academic advisors as salesmen and saleswomen who must seal the deal.  The same way that you would research a product before buying it, the same way you should devote ample of times to research your major. For, you would not want to see yourself struggling to make ends meet after investing four precious years of your life. 

We welcome and appreciate your comments.

Wedlin Sainval, M.S.M.S.

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