How We Can Help
That’s ok! College should be about ‘exploration,’ right? After all, if you don’t explore a bit, how will you know for certain that what you are studying here will bring you maximum benefit and enjoyment in your life as a college graduate? Nobody expects every new student to come to UW-L knowing exactly what academic and career path is the right one. But we do expect you will take an active role in the process, so you can come to know yourself and your own interests, talents, and abilities.
For most students, especially in the first semester or two, what’s most important is getting a good start on the General Education (or university core) requirements. General Education is the common educational experience for all undergraduates at UW-L. It is uniquely concerned with the broad education of the whole person, and plays a vital role in preparing students for life beyond the university. As a result of the General Education courses you take, you’ll be more knowledgeable in a wide variety of subject matter areas, and better able and more willing to ask significant questions, seek appropriate solutions to complex problems, make sound judgments, and formulate rational beliefs.
The Academic Advising Center staff will help you understand the UW-L General Education courses and how they help cultivate knowledge, skills, and dispositions essential for independent learning and thinking. Once you get a better understanding of the General Education program, it’s likely you’ll be better equipped to think about career opportunities based on your natural inclinations and talents.
We have a variety of services that can help you make the decision about a major field. We won’t make that decision for you, though. The choice of a major is something each UW-L student should make individually, based on his/ her own exploration of all the options available.
I’ve declared a major!
Great! A big part of our job is making sure that every student gets the advising he/ she needs to not only be happy and successful in the current semester, but also have a clear path that takes the student on to graduation and career opportunities. If you’ve declared a major, we can help you locate a UW-L faculty/ academic staff advisor in your major program and set up an initial meeting to review your academic progress.
If for some reason you’re having difficulty ‘connecting’ with your designated faculty/ academic staff advisor, we’re here to help. Come see one of our staff members and tell us about your situation. We’ll do everything we can to help make the connection.
HOW students can make the best use of their advisor:
- Become intimately familiar with the information in the UW-L Undergraduate Catalog and Class Timetable. Do not expect your advisor to explain these items to you.
- Carefully study the class schedule available prior to each registration period. Learn to use the WINGS registration system. To practice using WINGS, on-line tutorials are available.
- Have a tentative schedule written out before registering. Have options – so that if the class you really want has already filled, you have other classes you could take in its place.
- Take the initiative to contact your academic advisor. Most faculty have four classes each semester, as well as service and research requirements. They’re busy people! So it may take more than one attempt before you connect. Use e-mail to request an appointment time. If you do not get a speedy response from your faculty member, contact the department office to inquire about the faculty member’s office hours. Don’t give up! Persistence pays off!
- Prepare a list of questions or concerns before each meeting with your advisor. Make sure you ask all the questions on your list. Remember, faculty members may seem intimidating at first – but they’re here because they enjoy teaching and want to interact with students.
- Become familiar with student services offices and student organizations on campus. These organizations have opportunities for peer advising (both formally and informally) that give another perspective on the academic experience.
- ASK QUESTIONS! If you don't understand a policy or procedure, ask questions until you do understand. Be persistent! If your questions elsewhere are not answered to your satisfaction, come to the Academic Advising Center and we will help you.
- Though your advisor will provide you with options. You must make the decisions. After all, it’s your education and your life. Shouldn’t you take charge of it?
- Know the academic calendar. Don't miss deadlines. Know when to register and drop or add courses. Set up appointments with your advisor well in advance of these deadlines.
- Read your Advisement Report (unofficial transcript), including your scholastic standing. If you need help interpreting your Advisement Report, stop by the Academic Advising Center. We will help!
- When you have decided on a degree program, LEARN THE DEGREE REQUIREMENTS. Utilize your Advisement Report and visit the academic program’s web site for detailed information.
- Cooperate with your faculty advisor regarding class scheduling and degree plan changes.
- Get to know your advisor and let your faculty advisor get to know you!