What Sophomores Expect from Their Advisers
The Sophomore Class Council of the Yale College Council interviewed sophomores about the role of the sophomore faculty adviser and prepared the following list of important points.
- The role of the adviser is not just to look over a student's schedule to make sure the course load looks appropriate and balanced. An adviser can play an important role in helping students think about how their courses for the term fit into their overall academic and career goals. Students can also benefit from having the adviser tell them that it's fine to take a chance or two on courses.
- One of the most helpful things an adviser can do is ask their sophomore and junior advisees to draw up a tentative schedule of courses for the rest of their time at Yale. Students who are considering several majors may need to make several proposed schedules.
- Although it may seem unnecessary to mention this, make sure your students know that you are available for discussion throughout the term. A one-line e-mail checking in on each advisee at midterm will matter hugely to students. An end-of-term discussion about what went wrong and right is often more helpful than a schedule-signing talk during the rush of shopping period.
- Find out about your advisees' extracurricular activities. What are they involved in? What do they spend most of their time doing?
- Ask your students about the summer. Help them think through their ideas by asking questions such as: "What do you want to get out of your summer experience?" "How would this relate to your major and career goals?" "Have you thought about funding?" "Have you been to Career Services, the Center for International and Professional Experience, or the Office of Fellowship Programs?"
- The best advisers are accessible and take the initiative to contact advisees.
Some comments from individual students
"My adviser talks to me like a person. When I had her as a professor, she talked to me as a student, but now she talks to me as a person."
"I went to her with ideas, and she helped me narrow my class list, and then I went back later with my schedule. . . . She advised me about individual professors and classes."
"She makes herself available. We'll talk about things outside school."
"My adviser insisted on discussing my schedule with me before he would sign it."
"She is always very accessible. If I e-mail her, I get a response right away, and she'll meet with me when I need her to."