June 19, 2024

Academic Advisors: Guides through Your University Experience

Author: Kelsey Hotaling
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Start a degree program at American Public University.

By Kelsey Hotaling
Graduate Academic Advisor, APUS

When you take classes at the university, you’ll work with academic advisors. They will help you plan your curriculum and explore the value of your degree and educational choices. Also, they will explain university policies and procedures and discuss your academic plans with you.

Academic advisors are different at every university. Sometimes, they might be faculty members. In other situations, they are full-time, professional advisors who work within a specific academic school within the university. Some schools even have centralized advising centers where students can stop in to chat with one of the advisors.

Here at the university, your academic advisors work as a team, providing clear guidance to your inquiries. They can also be your advocates to resolve cross-departmental concerns. For example, if you’re utilizing a type of funding that requires you to schedule courses at certain times and you are unable to schedule courses that fit within those dates, contact Academic Advising. An academic advisor will coordinate with our Scheduling office to try and make courses available to you.

Another option is for that advisor to guide you through the course catalog and get a substitute course approved by your Program Director. If that substituted course is approved, the advisor will work with you to get you registered for the new course through the Registrar’s office.

Academic Advisors Also Provide Academic Support

While our academic advisors rely on the faculty to answer specific questions about course content and assignment details, they will often share their expertise to help you navigate the many resources available within the online classroom and the Trefry Library. In addition, they will listen to any concerns you might have about the class or your assignments. They can also discuss ways to have a conversation with your professors.

Academic advisors are available to discuss your questions about course grading policies. If you are nervous about not passing a course, they are a great group for discussing those nerves and creating practical solutions.

Academic Advisors Work with You on Your Course Progression

As you work your way through your academic program, advisors will help you select your next set of courses and estimate how long it will take to complete your degree or certificate, based on how many courses you take per year. If you’re not sure you’re in the right program, they can discuss program outcomes and direct you to Career Services tools and resources.

Are you thinking about applying to a new program and want to know how your credits may apply? Academic advisors will evaluate your plan to see how any transfer credits you’ve earned at another institution and the credits you’ve earned at the university can be transferred to your new degree.

Advisors Ensure You’re Ready for Graduation

If you are near the end of your academic program and have questions about your senior seminar or capstone class, advisors will guide you through the registration process for these courses. They can provide insight on your point of contact for a topic discussion.

If you’re planning to attend Commencement or you need assistance determining the date that your degree will be conferred, advisors can help you plan for those events. If you have an impending program deadline and need an emergency extension, academic advisors can discuss steps to extend that deadline to accommodate your degree conferral.

In summary, academic advisors offer guidance on most university issues. Even if they are unable to resolve your problem immediately, they will point you in the right direction or explain the steps in a process to ensure your success. They are here to support you through your entire time at the university and to make your academic journey an enjoyable experience.

How to Reach Your Advisors

Academic Advising team hours are Monday-Friday from 8 am — 9 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am — 6 pm EST. Academic advisors can be reached via phone at 877-755-2787 or via email at counseling@apus.edu.

About the Author

Kelsey Hotaling has been an Academic Advisor at American Public University System for two and a half years. She has a bachelor of arts in art history from West Virginia University, a master’s in business administration from APU and a master of arts in history from APU. She’s served on university and advising committees that promote student engagement and enjoys helping students meet their long-term goals.

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