Academic Advising at New Paltz
The Academic Advising Center: Who We Are, What We Do, And Your Responsibility In The Advising Process
Here at SUNY-New Paltz, the Academic Advising Center, faculty members and professional staff collaborate to help students gain the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to graduate in a timely manner. As a result of the advising system, students should be able to do the following:
- Locate and use a range of advising tools (i.e. College Progress Report, Advising Handbook, Schedule of Classes)
- Identify the purpose and requirements of the General Education Program
- Locate information regarding academic policies and procedures
- Identify and seek assistance from campus resources or services as needed
- Access information that increases their knowledge of New Paltz majors
- Seek guidance from advisors in a timely and appropriate manner
Academic advising is a new concept for many students. Students new to this college may have formerly relied on guidance counselors to direct their academic careers. But, there are important differences between an academic advisor and a guidance counselor. At SUNY-New Paltz, an academic advisor is a faculty member or a professional staff member who assists you with planning and making the most of your college career. Unlike guidance counselors, academic advisors are not going to pick your classes for you. Your advisor will help you select courses based on your academic background, requirements you need to fulfill, and areas of interest. But, the choice of a specific class, or at least the semester and time you take it, is often up to you. At New Paltz, you are responsible for building your own schedule based on the course offerings for that semester. After constructing a preliminary schedule, you consult with your advisor about those choices. You are also responsible for monitoring your own progress toward degree requirements, and for knowing about, and understanding, academic policies and procedures.
Another difference is that academic advisors are not going to seek you out. Advisors at New Paltz have multiple demands--they teach, are involved in research and/or creative work, have administrative responsibilities, etc. Advising is only one of their duties. In order to see your advisor you need to plan ahead. Find out when he or she will be holding office hours, or schedule an appointment. Email is also a good way of making contact with your advisor, especially if you have a quick question. To make the most of the advising relationship you should get to know your academic advisor early in your college career. Advisors can be most helpful if they know who you are. If you only see your advisor when you need a signature, then the "advice" they provide will necessarily be limited. Make an appointment to introduce yourself and to discuss broad goals and plans. Then when the crunch of registration arrives, or you're experiencing academic difficulty, you and your advisor will already have a base on which to make decisions. Advisors can help you think about a major, what you want to do after graduation, and how to utilize the resources available to you on campus. Course scheduling and registration should flow from these broader conversations.
The Academic Advising Center plays a unique role in the academic advising process at New Paltz. Students without a clear idea of what major they will declare are advised by the staff in Academic Advising or by selected faculty members; both are trained to advise students still exploring majors. First year students with a clear idea of a major are assigned to a faculty advisor in their major department.* It is important to note that beyond assisting their own advisees, the Academic Advising staff can help all students interpret academic policies and procedures, discuss general education and college-wide degree requirements, assist with major exploration, and point you in the right direction for just about any problem you encounter or question you might have. However, the Academic Advising Center is not a substitute for your own advisor. Your faculty advisor will have your advising folder, with all the information about your high school and/or previous college work, and they will have your alternate pin which you will need for registration. Any time you need an advisor signature, your regular academic advisor should be consulted. The Academic Advising Center works in partnership with departmental advisors to provide students with the information and guidance they need to be successful.
While there are many people on campus to help you, from your advisor, to your instructors, to the Campus Resources listed at the end of this handbook, your education is ultimately just that: Yours! Make it meaningful, successful, and something you'll be proud of in the years to come.
*Students in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) are advised by EOP staff throughout their college careers. Once an EOP student declares a major, he or she will also be assigned a departmental faculty advisor. See the description of EOP in the Campus Resources section of this handbook for a fuller description.