Two women having a conversation

Whether you're meeting your academic counsellor for the first or fifth time, it's always a good idea to prepare discussion points.

You may be thinking:

How do I prepare for the meeting? What should I discuss? What questions should I ask?

Preparing for a productive discussion with your advisor will help you:

  • Understand your major and degree requirements

  • Create an educational plan that maps out your sequence of courses per term/semester

  • Get referrals to campus resources important to your success

  • Ensure you're on track for a timely graduation

Discussion Tips

  • Prepare an agenda

  • Schedule the meeting

  • Discuss Your Goals

  • Questions to Ask

  • Define Next Steps

  • Following Up

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Prepare An Agenda

  • Before your meeting, create a list of topics to discuss.

  • Be realistic about the time you have scheduled for your meeting as well as how many items you’d like to discuss.

  • It may be helpful to prioritize the items of most immediate concern (personal or academic) on your agenda.

Example Agenda Items:

  • Adjust your course schedule and plan for upcoming semesters

  • Review (and revise, if needed) your long-term educational plan

  • Discuss pain points and challenges

  • Get referrals to useful campus and community resources

  • Review updated information on available courses, prerequisites, and graduate options

Quiz

Which of these would be an agenda item to discuss (check all that apply)?

Discuss financial aid options

Finalize your educational plan

Review progress on your goals

Review graduation requirements

Schedule The Meeting

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out! Schedule the meeting at convenient time for you and your counsellor.

  • If you send an email, take the lead by sharing your agenda, your progress, and any concerns or challenges.

Discuss Your Goals

Begin the discussion by sharing your academic and career goals with your academic counsellor.

If you're unclear on your goals, ask:

  • How flexible is my major?

  • What skills will my major help me develop?

  • What kind of careers can I pursue with my major?

Your counsellor can address these questions to help you gain clarity on your goals.

Goals checklist

Questions To Ask

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Bring these questions with you to your meeting:

Major Requirements

  • What classes are required for this major?

  • How many classes do you recommend I take each term?

  • How long will it take me to complete my degree?

  • Are there electives I should (or can) explore?

  • Should I pursue a minor area of study?

  • Can I change my major? How?

Campus Resources

  • What other campus resources do you suggest I use?

  • If I’m struggling academically, what resources should I use?

  • What types of internship or volunteer opportunities are available to me?

Quiz

Jackie wants to meet with an academic counsellor to change her major. Which question(s) should she ask?

How many classes do I need to graduate?

What are my new major's requirements?

Can I use credits from my old major?

When is the last day to pay my fees?

Define Next Steps

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  • Before ending your meeting, discuss when & how you'll get feedback from your advisor in the future.

  • You may want to schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss your progress and other items that may not have been addressed during your last meeting.

Following Up

  • Aim to follow up with your counsellor once every term.

  • If needed, send them the main discussion points from the last meeting.

  • These notes may serve as reminders of what you discussed and help prepare for the next meeting.

  • Don't be afraid to send your questions or concerns — remember, your counsellor is there to help you!

Woman taking notes

Take Action

woman saying

You're now ready for your meeting! Remember to discuss:

License:

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This Byte has been authored by

EL

Emily Larin

Career Development Instructor