Parents and Families

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Is your student feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices and opportunities at Michigan? Are they undecided about what to major in? Or maybe they’re looking for programs to enrich their field of study (that also look great on a resume). Maybe it’s time for a visit with an academic advisor.

While the advising process may be unique to each School or College within U-M, one thing is universal -- academic advisors do more than just provide information about degree requirements, they strive to develop an individual relationship with your student, helping to create a personalized educational experience.

We keep a high profile in the School, so we actually know most of the students by face, name, and their work,” says Dr. Joann McDaniel, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the Stamps School of Art & Design.

In LSA, advisors typically reach out to students weekly or bi-weekly via email and workshops, and according to Carmela Brown, Associate Director of the LSA Newnan Advising Center, “we encourage students to come see us at least once a semester. . . The more we meet with students, the better we are able to direct them to appropriate resources and experiences.”

One of the advantages to visiting an academic advisor prior to course registration is that advisors can help students create balanced schedules and provide information about which combinations of courses have historically been difficult to take in the same semester.

"Advisors offer details about the curriculum that are not always evident from websites or printed materials about a major . . . This type of information can help students make educated decisions about how they plan their courses each term,” says Christine Firlik, Academic Advisor & Career Counselor for the School of Kinesiology.

And where do parents and family members fit in to the academic advising picture? According to Associate Director Brown:

Asking questions and listening are key to getting students to recognize their own voices and accept responsibility for their own education. . . Our students are best supported when they know that they can have open and honest conversations with their parents and their advisors. . . Many of us are parents ourselves. . . We understand what it is like to hope for the best for our children and students. We want them to succeed and follow their passions.

So whether your student is thinking about registration for a future term, wondering how to balance a busy schedule, or ready to have a conversation about their passion and their future, know they can connect with an academic advisor! 

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