Wish you didn’t need to attend the mandatory meetings with your adviser to discuss professional development, your upcoming semester schedule, and mid-semester grades? I used to feel the same way when I was a college student. It wasn’t until I stopped having mandatory meetings that I realized how valuable my faculty advisor was.

I had endless questions about different industries, which classes would prepare me for my future career, and how to land a job after graduation. The mentoring relationship I had taken for granted was no longer being handed to me on a platter, and my career path felt daunting.

That’s why I went to my student services and scheduled a non-mandatory meeting. And when it ended, the only regret I had was not scheduling it sooner.

My faculty adviser walked through career opportunities step-by-step, whether that was attending graduate school, or pursuing a ph.d or helping me to map my career path. It was no longer one of my degree requirements, but they addressed my concerns and provided me with some pretty remarkable advice. As I built a good relationship with my advisor, she would send me information about networking events at the university and the surrounding area, internship opportunities, and resume and interview workshops – valuable information that far surpassed just academic programs.

I was fortunate to have an academic advisor who truly cared about her students and aimed for student success. I felt comfortable asking her questions and found her advice useful, but that came out of forming a strong relationship with her – and I would encourage you to do the same. First, make sure this person is someone you are comfortable confiding in. If this person is not, seek an alternative – perhaps your favorite Accounting professor. The key is to find someone who can provide career advice and insight.

Once you’ve confirmed you’re happy with your adviser, start building that relationship! Here are five easy tips to do so.

    1. Schedule meetings in advance. Try to send an email a week in advance asking for this person’s availability and explaining your reason for the meeting.
    2. Stick to 1-2 meeting topics. Each meeting should only focus on one or two topics at a time. This will allow the conversation to hone in on a clear answer.
    3. Set realistic expectations. Don’t go into the meeting with the expectation that your advisor will be able to answer all of your concerns and questions in one session – instead, use this time to create achievable academic goals.
    4. Be prepared. In a notebook, outline the points you would like to discuss in a meeting. Bring a notebook (and an extra pen or pencil) to the meeting – it will show that you made an effort. It will also make it easier to jot down notes so you can keep track of what you learned.
    5. Send a thank you note. Always send a thank you email after a meeting with your advisor. Aside from great practice for future job interview thank you notes, it will show that you value your advisor’s time.

Jordan Junqua is Marketing Coordinator for Surgent CPA Review. Jordan graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration degree concentrated in marketing. Before joining Surgent CPA Review, Jordan worked for a full-service luxury travel consulting firm, where she gained knowledge in digital marketing, product development, social media and public relations.