The word “advisor” encompasses many things when dealing with a University. With on-campus Universities, the advisor is most likely a professor/instructor at the school. With online universities, it works a little differently.
Each university has its own unique procedures in what their advisors are responsible for. Many times an initial admissions advisor, sometimes known as an admissions representative, will guide you through the application process and your initial financial aid process. It is their responsibility to direct you through the initial application process, retaining any necessary transcripts, work history or other experience that could count towards the degree you choose. This includes helping you make an informed decision about the degree options that would be best suited to your needs.
Once you have chosen your area of study and have been accepted, a new academic advisor is assigned to you, knowledgeable in your specific field. He will counsel you on your first steps, if you are new to the online process. This includes your first class, specifically designed to acclimate you to the online class process. Depending on whether you are full or part time, your advisor will guide you through the classes that will best fit your schedule. A financial aid advisor will be assigned for financial questions.
Academic advisors are trained to know the courses necessary for the degree that you are pursuing. They will also answer any questions unique to the career or career path that you are seeking. For instance, if the degree you seek is psychology, you will have the further options of going into counseling, research, medical, etc. Having an idea ahead of time will help you tailor your degree. Fear not, though, you have the prerogative to change your path at any time and your advisor will guide you through the steps. The same goes with certificates; whether you choose medical transcription, medical billing, or any other related field, your advisor is there to guide you.
An advisor is concerned with your educational outcome and the career you will be stepping into. An advisor is not responsible for problems you are having with your instructor. That is between you and your instructor. An advisor can help you find alternative classes, however, if you feel the class is not working out for you. But it is your responsibility to know the add/drop dates so that you are not charged. Your advisor will most likely not contact you to see if you like the class or how you feel you are doing.
Chances are your advisor has also taken classes at the university you are attending. They will be familiar with the basic guidelines. But keep in mind that every instructor is different and your advisor may not be acquainted with your particular one. Generally your syllabus and class guidelines will give you all of the information you will need to get through your class.
Students are often reassigned advisors, depending on the circumstances of the university and you will be notified who your new advisor will be. Fear not, the new advisor will be up-to-date on your particular course of action. Most importantly, though, you are the one responsible for keeping up with your classes and your progress. Keep track of your classes, GPA, and future course of action so that, no matter who your advisor is, you know where you are.
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