Last week when I was hanging out with a high school friend of mine, I brought up how I was looking forward to having my academic advisor as a professor again for the 20th Century British Literature class I’m taking this fall. I talked about how wonderful she is as an advisor, a teacher, and a friend–she’s great to talk to.
My friend, who attends a large state university said that he too had a great advisor but that she’s not a professor but rather a full-time advisor. This struck me as odd, though it shouldn’t have. Larger universities have much larger student to faculty ratios, so there’s no way professors there could possibly advise all those students.
Truth be told, I couldn’t imagine having an advisor that wasn’t a McDaniel professor. My advisor knows the ins and outs of our department, the English department, and I visit her even when it’s not advising time to talk about topics both fun and intellectual. I couldn’t be happier with her.
Everyone’s first advisor at McDaniel is the professor of their First Year Seminar (FYS) class. Once you’re assigned an FYS, you and your new advisor will get in touch with each other to learn more about each other and discuss classes to register for for your first semester.
You can choose an advisor in your department once you declare your major, though your FYS advisor will be involved in your advising process throughout your first year. Because my FYS advisor also happens to be a member of my department, I decided to stick with her.
You have a pretty good say in who your departmental advisor is. Though there are some departments that will suggest specific professors who currently have the flexibility to take on new advisees, you are pretty much free ask whichever professor in your department you’d like to be your advisor. Chances are, that professor will say yes to being your advisor.
And if it turns out that you’d rather have a different advisor in your department, it tends to be pretty easy to switch with some paperwork and departmental permission. Your old advisor will not have his or her feelings hurt if you decide to choose someone else.
Being able to have a professor as an advisor and having the advising process so personalized is just another great thing about academics on the Hill. This is one aspect of my education that I couldn’t be happier with.