Tips For Advisors
WCU offers many ways to learn the responsibilities and resources for your advising duties. Your department should provide you with initial support during your first year of advising - this can come in the form of one-on-one mentoring, attending others' advising appointments, departmental meetings about advising, etc. Please familiarize yourselves with the structure of your degree programs as well as general education via the catalogs and some of the resources listed below.
Scheduling Advising Meetings
- Students must meet with you each semester to gain access to registration.
- Use email or an online scheduling program to set up appointments.
- Email your advisees via the myWCU advisee list to let them know how to make an appointment with you and any expectations you have for the meeting (See sample email below).
- Students should meet with you at least a week before myWCU would allow them to enroll in classes (this date is on their myWCU homepage and on your "Scheduling flag" list in myWCU).
- Students receive their registration dates mainly according to their accrued number of credits.
Download a printable version of Schedule Advising Meetings
At All Advising Meetings
Most important, use advising meetings to know your students, curricula, and WCU structures better. Learn advisees' names, ask them how they are doing in their classes, and make sure you listen. See Do's & Don'ts for more information of this kind.
- Give advisees access to registration by "lifting the flag" in your "WCU Advisor Scheduling Flag" menu in MyWCU. This will remove the Advisor Hold from their MyWCU account.
- Don't lift the flag without meeting with them - that introduces more possibility of error and disappointment
- Ask them to set up a tentative schedule before the meeting, so that your meeting can be more efficient and cover more in-depth topics
- Ask them to tell you where/how their proposed classes fit in their academic program so that you can be certain that they are learning their program
- Look at DPR together, to explain or notice any concerns
- Review their current number of credits and make sure they will attain 120 by their intended graduation date
- Go over items peculiar to your programs - for example, FATE for education majors, practicum placements, recital scheduling, common errors, etc.
- Always take notes, either on a hard copy sheet, in myWCU, in email, or via some other system. Make sure both you and the student retain or have access to a copy. This allows both you and the student to review later what you decided at your meeting, and it can help clarify the advice you gave as your advisees proceed in their academic careers.
Download a printable version of At All Advising Meetings
First Advising Meeting with New First-Year Students/New Transfers
Remember that the language and procedures of university life are unfamiliar to these students: help them understand, so that they can navigate their programs better and make advising easier for you.
- Make sure they know where your department's advising resources are: for example, do they have majors' manual? Are they members of a majors' D2L site or email distribution list?
- Have them log in to myWCU
- Show them where "Degree Progress Report " is
- Help them read it
- Ask your chair or a senior departmental advisor about any discrepancies or oddnesses you see
- Show them where "Enroll in a Class " is
- Tell them that they must get to Step 3 of the enrollment process to be actually in the class. They must click the "Finish" button.
- They can put classes on their tentative list before they meet with you, before you lift their advising flag, and before their myWCU class registration date
- Go over resources of this Advising web site with them, so that they know where to go for certain types of help
Download a printable version of First Advising Meeting
Sources of Information
Make sure you help students know where they can go to find information on their own. This will make your job as an advisor easier.
- Student Records
- Class Schedule
- # of Credits
- Degree Progress Report (DPR)
Academic Advising Website
- Class Schedule
- Transfer Information
- Withdrawal Information
- Graduation Information
- Forms for Adding/Changing Majors/Minors
Departmental Websites and Handbooks
- Expectations of Advisees and Advisors
- Explanations of Institutional Procedures and Policies
- Information about Curriculum
- Four-Year Degree Plans
Download a printable version of Sources of Information
Main Reasons Students Don't Graduate When They Hope to and How to Help
- They don't achieve 120 credits (# is state-mandated) by their intended graduation date.
Show them how MyWCU counts their credits for them, so that they can keep track.
- They take interdisciplinary classes because they think those classes will count as discipline-specific general education classes.
Show them the list of approved courses; point out to them that the DPR tracks this accurately, and they should check where their classes are categorized as soon as they register for those classes.
- They do not take the proper culture cluster classes.
Explain this policy to them and help them plan their culture cluster choices; urge them not to put off this requirement.
- They do not take courses in the proper sequence.
Use your program's four-year plan to identify the correct sequences; know the common bottlenecks or high-demand classes; show them where they can see a class's pre-reqs; help them prepare to take needed classes so that they don't need a class last-minute; explain to them their options if they are unable to schedule a needed class.
Download a printable version of Mains Reasons Student's Don't Graduate When They Hope to and How to Help
Sample Welcome Email
Welcome back for another semester at WCU. The list below gives you some basic information for the start of the semester as well as information about meeting with me. Remember, I need to see all of you at least once every semester, so that we can both make sure you're staying on track and making the most of your experience here. I look forward to welcoming those of you who are just joining our department and touching base with everyone else!
- How to make an appointment with me. [Explain]
- Add-Drop period. The last day to add or drop classes is DAY/DATE. Review your class schedule and program requirements before or during the first week of classes, while you still have time to make adjustments to your schedule. This is especially important for students planning to graduate this semester. If you have questions about whether or not to take a class, please consult with me.
- Requirements. Check and double-check your advising sheets to make sure you are satisfying all requirements. Check your advising sheets against your Degree Progress Report on MyWCU and ask about any discrepancies. If you plan to graduate this semester, make sure you will have accumulated at least 120 credits by then.
- Tuition. Make sure you have paid your semester bill, so that you will not be removed from your classes.
- Department-specific information and common problems. [Explain]
- Communication. Pay attention to your WCU email account and [your personal and departmental communication methods here]. The key to staying on top of your degree program and of taking advantage of all WCU has to offer is communication!
Have a good start to your semester. You'll be hearing more from me!
Download a printable version of Sample Welcome Email