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Frequently Asked Questions


What do Academic Advisors do?

Academic Advisors know about University policies and procedures, so they can assist your student with navigating and interpreting General Education requirements and additional university policies. They work with your student on researching and exploring majors, selecting courses, and registering for classes. Also, advisors refer students to resources available both on and off campus.

What do Academic Advisors expect from students?

Advisors expect their students to meet with them within their first month of the semester. Students have a registration hold placed on their account that must be removed by the advisor. Students must meet with their advisor the minimum number of times before that hold can be removed.  

Advisors expect undeclared students to review and identify courses of interest from the General Education Handbook and undergraduate catalog. It is expected that your student will research and investigate majors that interest them and ask questions about degree requirements. Although it would be difficult for your student to learn about all the majors that Western offers; advisors appreciate when students have reviewed a few majors, and ask questions to clarify information.

Advisors focus on the basics, such as what is a credit, how do you create a class schedule, how should I manage my time, etc. In addition to the basics, advisors will also work with students to be developmental. Developmental advising recognizes the importance of interactions between the student and the campus environment, focuses on the whole person, and works with the student at that person's own life stage of development. Thus advisors need to be aware of other things going in a student’s life because of the impact they may have on the student’s success in college.

How can I learn how my son or daughter is doing?

The best way to find out how your student is doing academically is to have clear communication with your student. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits the disclosure of private information, such as grades even to the student’s parents. Students do have the option to grant their family members access to their University records through STARS. More information about this and other options can be found at http://www.wiu.edu/registrar/access.php.

What if my student is having academic difficulty?

Listen to your student’s concerns and encourage him or her to talk with the appropriate professor(s). Have your student utilize the tutoring services on campus or the University Writing Center. Make sure your student is meeting regularly with his or her advisor to discuss concerns and progress. Encourage your student to talk with a counselor at the University Counseling Center. Transitioning from high school to college can be difficult for some students and having someone to talk to could be very beneficial.

If the above strategies do not help to improve the situation, your student may want to consider withdrawing from the course(s). If so, make sure that your student meets with his or her advisor to discuss that option. There are published deadlines each semester for withdrawing from a course and this could also affect financial aid or housing.

Adapted from: Kutztown University. (n.d.). Advising Center for Undeclared Students. Retrieved July 7, 2008, from Kutztown University Web site