Academic advising is an important process in which faculty and staff assist students in developing plans and clarifying career and/or advanced study goals. All students should meet with an academic adviser at least once each semester to plan future coursework. In these meetings, students and advisers discuss academic records which may include grade reports, transcripts, evaluations of work transferred to TCU and degree plans.
Students new to the University are required to attend advising sessions for the first four semesters after entering TCU. They are likely to require assistance in the mechanics of first-time enrollment and in exploring choices related to selection of courses and degree programs. Students with more University experience often handle these tasks with little need for assistance, but may profit from direction in maximizing academic performance and setting career goals. Finally, students nearing completion of their academic programs are likely to need specific help in ensuring that all degree requirements are met and assistance with the transition to a career or advanced study. In short, the specific activities required will depend on the adviser, the student and the student’s progress in their academic career.
The student-adviser relationship is one of shared expectations and responsibilities. Consequently, advising will depend on the needs of the student and their academic program. Further, the actual activities involved in advising will change as the student progresses through a degree program or subsequently changes degree programs.
Pre-majors (those who have not formally declared a major) are advised by professional advisers in Academic Advising. Academic Advising provides resources and access to programs designed to help students identify career interests and possible majors.
Students who have declared majors are advised in the department of the major or by staff in the school/college of that major. If a student changes majors, they will be assigned to a new adviser in their new area of study for future advising.
A quality advising relationship requires a dedicated adviser and a prepared student. The student must initiate the advising activities, define the need of advising activity, and be prepared to take responsibility for their academic and career goals as well as their academic performance. Prior to seeing their advisers, students should become familiar with degree and major requirements for programs of interest and courses in which they wish to enroll. Advisers will answer questions and make suggestions, but the student must assume full responsibility for satisfying all program and degree requirements.
At the beginning of the first semester, students are assigned an academic adviser in the department of their major. Students may be assigned to either faculty or professional advisers, depending on the department or school/college. Pre-majors are advised by Academic Advising until a major is declared. Pre-major advisers are knowledgeable about a wide range of academic programs and can assist students in identifying an appropriate major/minor. All students who have 54 or more earned hours must have a declared major.
The actual number of times a student should meet with their academic adviser each semester depends on the adviser, the student, the student’s program and their academic progress. All students should confer with their academic advisers at least once each semester during the scheduled advising period for the subsequent semester. Students may also want to meet with their advisers to discuss degree requirements, selection of a minor, internship opportunities, academic progress, etc.
Students must meet with their advisers before registering for classes each semester, but are encouraged to confer with them anytime that academic concerns arise during the year.
In preparation for the advising for the subsequent semester, students should:
- Give thoughtful consideration to their personal, educational and career goals, and reevaluate these goals as necessary.
- Acquire a basic familiarity with their own academic program, including all applicable requirements and policies.
- Give advance consideration to a tentative schedule of classes each semester prior to their advising meeting. This should include reading a description of every course under consideration, including whether or not there are prerequisites or whether or not the course will count toward the TCU Core Curriculum.
- Ask questions if they feel they have received insufficient or confusing information.
- Provide timely notice and information concerning any academic problems encountered.
- Read carefully and make appropriate responses to all communications from their school/college office, the Academic Advising Office, their adviser, the Dean of Students Office and Office of the Registrar.