21st Century Scholars > College Success Guide > Getting Academic Support

Getting Academic Support

Your advisor’s role

At most schools, students are assigned an academic advisor. Your advisor will help you develop an academic plan that will keep you on track to meet your educational goals and earn your degree. Remember, though: you are responsible for knowing your options and degree requirements. Own your plan and follow it through.

Stay in regular contact with your advisor and seek him or her out when you have questions.

Visit your advisor immediately if you are considering:

  • Making course or schedule changes, such as adding, dropping or even switching classes;
  • Changing your major;
  • Transferring to another college or university; or
  • Withdrawing from school all together.

These are big decisions that are not without consequences. Your advisor can help you navigate schedule-change deadlines (which often occur in the first two weeks of classes) and understand school policies so you don’t jeopardize your academic record, your student status or your 21st Century Scholarship.

If you need additional support, seek assistance from the academic or student affairs office.

Campus offices and departments

As a 21st Century Scholar, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with the following campus offices and departments.

Admissions office: helps students apply for and enroll in the college.

Academic affairs: typically oversees all academic-related services, including academic advising.

Bursar’s office: in charge of billing and collecting fees for the college or university.

Financial aid office: responsible for determining students’ financial need and awarding financial aid.

Registrar’s office: in charge of registering students; managing records, such as schedules, transcripts and student information for current and past students; as well as providing educational support services, including assistance with dropping or adding classes.

Student affairs: typically oversees a wide range of programs and services to support students in their college experience, including student activities, student government, housing, counseling services and more.

Peers who can offer assistance

Teaching assistant (TA): an upper-level or graduate student who assists an instructor with a course; TAs often help teach the course, lead discussion sections and grade papers.

Resident advisor or assistant (RA): an upper-level, trained student leader who supervises a specific residence hall or section of a residence hall; RAs are trained to counsel students, answer questions and offer advice about college.

Mentor: an upper-level student, faculty or staff member who is experienced at navigating college and who can provide support, answer questions and offer advice to first-year college students.