In conjunction with their First Year Experience, each new first year is assigned a faculty advisor. Your faculty advisor will guide you through your first few months--perhaps beyond--at CC, giving you advice about what classes to take and what general academic choices to pursue. Here are some frequently asked questions, plus a bit of practical knowledge from former Dean Susan Ashley.
Practical Wisdom from Susan Ashley, former Dean of the College
- Connect to faculty members. Don't be afraid to nab them after class or check in during their office hours. They're busy (or seem so), but they also like to talk about their disciplines and most are interested in what you're thinking. Be sure to check with the professor if you're having trouble with the reading, with writing, or you're not sure how you're doing in discussion. Ask for some practical tips. Make them give you constructive suggestions, even (especially) if you're doing very well.
- Try to remember that the point of college is not getting a degree; it's getting an education. Focus on process--on thinking analytically, on writing convincingly, on speaking effectively (that is, asking questions as well as offering answers). Information you'll forget; with practice, ways of thinking and expressing yourself become part of you.
- Don't worry right away about a major. It's tempting to look for labels (major, double major) to wrap up your education. Before deciding, try subjects you've never tried and try ones you haven't liked one more time. The best preparation for a career and a job nowadays is not what you know but how you think. Any classes which force you to think in new ways and to develop analytical skills will give you an edge in the "dot-com world".
- Branch out. Try some activities you haven't tried before. Take advantage of intramurals, fine arts opportunities, speakers and concerts. Cultivate a few skills and interests useful when you're older (and old).
- Try not to worry about making a lot of friends right away. Be patient and be open. Take some time to figure out which groups make you comfortable and which don't. You'll find like-minded people in the residence halls, class, and in activities--another reason to get involved.
- Use the Writing Center. The best writers can profit, so can the less-than-best.
- College is a rare opportunity for self-discovery. It's a time when you can figure out your values and goals and determine what you can and cannot change in yourself. A lot of people around you are also searching, so you have company. You also have time and many resources--books, friends, experts.
- Use college to develop a book list for the future -- books you want to read and don't have time to read and books that you know you'll understand in a different way years down the road. In a way, the best you can get from college is a great book list and the ability and the confidence to read it on your own later.
- Bring earplugs. Get enough sleep.
- Live and learn applies to college; some lessons, though, you can learn without doing. Use your imagination and avoid deep trouble.
What is an academic advisor?
Your academic advisor is a faculty member assigned to serve as your educational mentor and general resource at Colorado College. Prior to arriving at CC in August, you will receive a letter from the associate dean of the college containing the FYE course in which you have been enrolled; this letter will also include the name, office address, and telephone number of your advisor.
How is my advisor selected?
Ideally, your advisor is assigned to you on the basis of your area of academic interest. We do our best to match you to a faculty member who is a) within your department of interest or b) teaching your first two blocks of class at CC.
For the purposes of advisor selection, your advising questionnaire and course registration forms are crucial.
How often should I contact my advisor?
Your relationship will be what you make it. The students that develop great relationships with their advisors take initiative in becoming acquainted, asking for help, and planning ahead. Stay in touch! Get a feel for your advisor's style and arrange meetings based on what works best for the both of you. If minor questions come up, ask via phone or email. We recommend touching base with your advisor about three times per semester.
When you receive the name of your faculty advisor, you may personally contact him/her via email before arriving on campus. Your first official advisor meeting will take place during New Student Orientation (NSO) week.
Is my first advisor a permanent assignment?
No. Your initial faculty advisor may continue to advise you during your first two years at CC, but once you declare a major, you are expected to seek out an advisor in the department of your major. If you aren't familiar with the faculty in your department, the chair of the department is available to help you choose.
How do I change my advisor?
Though we suggest you not change your advisor until your second semester, you are able to switch at any time. Grab a "change of advisor" form from the registrar's office, fill it out – complete with the signatures of both advisors, former and new – and return it in order to make a swap.
And if my advisor is away, busy, or stumped?
When your advisor is off campus, you still have a number of alternatives. We recommend: faculty with whom you have had a class (your FYE instructor(s) may be especially useful); the department chair; Philip Apodaca, the registrar (389-6610); or Victor Nelson-Cisneros, the associate dean of the college (389-6686). Other helpful resources include your resident advisor, residential life coordinator, and FYE student mentor.