How to Utilize Your Academic Adviser

By Bailey Linton on February 4, 2019

When I was growing up, my parents always stressed the importance of finding myself a mentor.

Their reason for pushing me toward mentors should be obvious—there are wise people out there who have been in the same situations I eventually faced in adolescence. No matter how independent I wanted to be as a child, sometimes I had to admit that I needed help from someone else who knew exactly how to solve my problem.

When I began to face the inevitable hurdles that most college students face, my parent-instilled mindset to seek mentorship led me to my academic adviser. For those of you who don't know, Cornerstone University assigns each student a faculty member to be an academic adviser to help make all sorts of decisions. Because let's be honest, we could all use a little help every now and then.

Staying on Top of Your Schedule

One of the biggest blessings that comes from Cornerstone's academic adviser program is the advisers' deep knowledge of what classes you need to graduate. Even though several students will have the same adviser, those faculty make time to meet with each individual student to help them with schedules.

There have been several instances in my college career where I had no idea what I was going to do or what classes to take next, and my academic adviser was my saving grace. Like a knight in shining armor, they sought me out to see if I needed help.

However, if you are going to ask for assistance arranging your class schedule, please make sure you are courteous of the academic adviser's time as well. Chances are, you are not the only student who may need a little guidance, and near the end of the semester, things can get pretty hectic.

Finding Your Specialty

When I came to Cornerstone as a scared, freshly minted adult, the one thing I thought I was sure of was that I wanted to be a pastor. Not just any pastor, but a youth pastor (ignoring the fact that my experience of being around youth as an adult were slim to none). Growing up, a youth pastor played a large part in my coming to salvation story, and so I believed whole-heartedly that I was meant to be a youth pastor.

I'm not sure I was being entirely real with myself.

When I eventually made the difficult change from majoring in ministry to strategic communication, I was frightened that I wouldn't know how to take on this new challenge. My academic adviser (who also happened to be my teacher for several classes) was supportive and knowledgeable throughout the process.

Academic advisers are there to help you along each aspect of your academic journey through Cornerstone's undergrad program. Feel free to speak candidly with them if you feel confused about where you are going or what you want to do.

Additionally, CU offers the Center for Career and Life Calling, where you can schedule meetings with individuals specifically trained to help you figure out the crazy thing that is your major. If you need help with your major, take it from me, CU is well-equipped to help you find your calling.

Ask Their Advice

This may seem like a more informal use of your adviser, but hear me out.

During your time at Cornerstone, your academic advisers make it their goal to get to know you as both a student and as a person. Because of this, I found that my adviser became not just a staff member who could help me solve problems, but also an elder whom I truly respected. It was only through discussing the intricacies of communication that I reconsidered a career in ministry and changed direction to communication.

Your academic adviser has already gone through the college process (most have gone on to get their doctorates) and have been called to CU specifically to get to know you and help you.

Adviser and Advisee

My relationship with my adviser has been a fruitful one. Not only have I gotten to know him as a professor, but I've also been able to find common ground with him and discuss ideas with him on a personal level. This experience is something I don't think I would have gotten anywhere else because of CU's unique blend of community and academics.

God has gifted all of us with special people in our lives to guide us along the right path and to help us build a life that matters. Your academic adviser could be one of those people in your life.

If you have already been accepted, CU offers the ability to schedule a meeting with your academic adviser before the school year to make sure you can start the year with your best foot forward, so be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity!

For more information on how Cornerstone can help you find your special calling, visit our web page for the Center of Career and Life Calling.

Categories: Professors, Student Perspectives