FAQ

Student FAQs

If you are a traditional undergraduate student and have declared a major, your assigned adviser will be a professor who is currently associated with your academic field of study or a related field. Your assigned adviser is the person you must see during the fall semester to plan for and register for the spring semester.

If you have not yet declared a major or are an adult degree student, exchange student, or Rotary student, your assigned adviser will be one of the Professional Staff Advisers located in the Academic Success Center. These advisers work with undecided students to explore possible majors and fields of study. Do not rush to declare a major; there are many opportunities for self-reflection and assessment during your freshman year that will help inform a major that is a good fit for your interests and your strengths. Once you declare a major, you will be reassigned to a Faculty Adviser who is aligned with your major or field of study.

Advising provides guidance on formulating “the big picture” of your holistic academic experience and career plans, not just the nuts and bolts of required classes.

Advising happens in the context of the past (What have I taken? How have I done? What have I liked?) and plans for the future (Where am I going? What do I want? What will it take to get there?). Advisers help you navigate these questions.

True advising requires that the adviser and student know something about each other, such as concerns, goals, etc.

Share your goals and interests. Not just about academic coursework, but also things like the Honors Program, departmental honors and societies, internships, study abroad, lectures to attend, conferences, postgraduate grants and fellowships, etc.

Each student is ultimately responsible for his or her own academic plan. Your adviser serves as your academic guide and will help you create a four-year academic plan, but it is important for you to take ownership of researching options and next steps that you and your adviser discuss. Here are a few tips provided by Oglethorpe faculty to help students know what to anticipate:

  • Be honest about your study habits and ability in the classroom. Your adviser treats your conversations as confidential and can be a helpful advocate if you realize that you need to make a change or seek our help in a particular subject.
  • Show up prepared with a list of questions or options that you want to discuss. This respects both your own and your professor’s time.
  • Take notes during your advising appointments. You are responsible for the action items and next steps that you discuss.
  • Show up on time for your advising appointments with necessary materials and a pen or pencil
  • Take responsibility for reading the OU Bulletin and be familiar with the requirements of your intended major. You can ask questions and seek clarification around options, but take the initiative to be familiar with the information.

You are encouraged to touch base with your adviser at the start of every semester. The most effective advisee-adviser relationships are ones in which student and adviser get to know one another. Take the initiative to make appointments with your adviser and discuss your four-year academic plan to include ideas for internships, study abroad, service learning or other experiential learning opportunities.

Schedule a meeting with a Professional Adviser in the ASC.

Many students have difficulty deciding on a major for a number of reasons. Sometimes students are looking for a direct match between major and career because they believe that a major sets their life path with little room to change. This is simply not true. Most people have many careers in a lifetime regardless of their college major. The following suggestions can help OU students decide on a major.

  • Thoroughly explore department web pages to understand mission, faculty interests, types of courses, what graduates are now doing, etc.
  • Talk to current majors in the departments of interest.
  • Talk to faculty in those departments of interest.

Please refer to the Bulletin for more information regarding major requirements.

There are no exact rules for when you should reach out to your adviser, but the following list provides good examples of when it might be helpful to speak with your adviser.

  • If you are struggling in one or more courses and feel like you need to tap into additional resources or just talk to someone about how you can better handle the workload. It is usually best to start with the instructor of your course, but it is also helpful to many students to speak with their adviser, as well.
  • If you want to explore a certain concentration or supplemental courses for your major.
  • If you are want to better understand the types of internships and service learning opportunities that connect with your major.
  • If you are feeling unsure about your major and want to explore/discuss options
  • If you want to better understand how and why a course or series of courses fits into your major
  • If you are struggling with any aspect of your coursework and would like advise: note taking, writing, class participation. Your conversations with your adviser are completely confidential, and many students feel more comfortable speaking with their adviser than their instructor about these types of general concerns.
  • If you want to make sure that you fit in a semester of study abroad and still graduate in four years
  • If you are interested in a double major, but concerned about how to complete it in four years.

Parent FAQs

If your student is a traditional undergraduate students and has declared a major, the assigned adviser will be a professor who is currently associated within your student’s selected academic field of study. Your student’s assigned adviser is the person s/he must see during the fall semester to plan for and register for the spring semester.

If your student is an adult degree student, exchange student , Rotary student or has not yet declared a major, the assigned adviser will be one of the Professional Staff Advisers located in the Academic Success Center. These advisers work with undecided students to explore possible majors and fields of study. Do not rush your student to declare a major; there are many opportunities for self-reflection and assessment during the freshman year that will help inform a major that is a good fit for your student’s interests and strengths. Once a major is declared, students are assigned to a Faculty Adviser aligned with the declared major or field of study.

  • Advising provides guidance on formulating each student’s “big picture” of his/her education and career, not just the nuts and bolts of required classes
  • Advising happens in the context of the past (what have I taken? How have I done? What have I liked?) and plans for the future (where am I going? What do I want? What will it take to get there?). Advisers help your student navigate these questions.
  • Encourage your student to get to know his/her adviser and share goals and interests – not just about academic coursework, but also things like departmental honors and societies, internships, study abroad, lectures to attend, conferences, postgraduate grants and fellowships, etc.

Each student is ultimately responsible for his or her own academic plan. The adviser serves as an academic guide and will help each student create a four-year academic plan, but it is important for your student to take ownership of researching options and next steps. Here are a few tips provided by Oglethorpe faculty to help students know what to anticipate:

  • Students need to be honest about study habits and ability in the classroom. Advisers treat conversations as confidential and can be a helpful advocate if students realize a change/additional help is needed.
  • Students are expected to show up prepared with a list of questions or topics to discuss. This respects the adviser’s time.
  • Students should take notes during advising appointments. The student is responsible for the action items and next steps discussed.
  • Students should show up on time for advising appointments with necessary materials and a pen or pencil.
  • Students should take responsibility for reading the OU Bulletin and be familiar with the requirements of their intended major. Questions and clarification are encouraged, but students should take the initiative to be familiar with the information.

Students are encouraged to touch base with advisers at the start of every semester. The most effective advisee-adviser relationships are ones in which student and adviser get to know one another. Students should take the initiative to make appointments and discuss/create a four-year academic plan to include ideas for internships, study abroad, service learning or other experiential learning opportunities.

There are no exact rules for when students should reach out to advisers, but the following list provides good examples of when it might be helpful.

  • If a student is struggling in one or more courses. Advisers can help identify campus resources for academic support and counsel students on general study habits. Students should also be encouraged to speak with the instructor of any course in which they are struggling, but it is also helpful to many students to speak with their adviser, as well.
  • If a student is struggling with any aspect of coursework and would like advise on issues such as: note taking, writing, class participation. Conversations with advisers are completely confidential, and many students feel more comfortable speaking with their adviser than their instructor about these types of general concerns.
  • If a students wants to better understand how and why a course or series of courses fits into the major.
  • If a students wants to better understand the types of internships and service learning opportunities connected with a major.
  • If a students wants to explore a certain concentration or supplemental courses for their major.
  • If a students is feeling unsure about their selection of major and want to explore/discuss options. Students can also reach out to the Professional Advisers in the Academic Success Center for information on other majors.
  • If a student wants to make sure that they can fit in a semester of study abroad and still graduate in four years.
  • If a student is interested in a double major, but concerned about how to complete it in four years.

Many students have difficulty deciding on a major for a number of reasons. Sometimes students are looking for a direct match between major and career because they believe that a major sets their life path with little room to change. This is simply not true. Most people have many careers in a lifetime regardless of their college major. Encourage your student to schedule a meeting with a Professional Adviser in the Academic Success Center. Our professional advisers are trained to work with students to investigate options that fit student strengths, interests and life aspirations.

Because of FERPA requirements and your student’s developmental need to take initiative for their own academic path, advisers are encouraged to talk to students directly, versus parents. However, there may be situations of student safety or academic jeopardy for which a parent might want to talk to their adviser to provide information. These situations may include:

  • Concern about student’s mental health
  • Concern that a student is not attending class
  • Concern that a student is being bullied

Oglethorpe respects the privacy of each student and encourages parents and students to establish an open dialogue regarding student progress and coursework. Use the following open-ended questions to gain an understanding of your student’s situation without violating the student’s need for independence and personal accountability.

  • What courses do you most enjoy? Why?
  • What courses are you finding the most challenging? Access the list of required coursework for your student’s major. Use this list to ask informed questions about what the student is currently studying.
  • How did you find the meeting with your adviser helpful? What kinds of things did you discuss?
  • Around midsemester, ask your student about their midsemester grades?
  • At the of the semester, require that you student share their grades with you.
  • At the end of the semester, ask your student what they are planning to take in the following semester. Try not to criticize their selections, but ask how these selections fit their major and core curriculum requirements.