The Powers of Academic Advising

By Zane Harding December 23, 2019

By the time you’re reading this, dear blog reader, I will have returned home for the holidays. Before I depart for holiday festivities with my family, however, I have an advising appointment.

There are so many reasons to take advantage of academic advising at the University of Michigan, and the only reason I learned half of these reasons was that I spent a full semester working the front desk for Newnan Academic Advising, the advising office for LSA students on campus. Today, I’ll dive into a few reasons you may want to visit academic advising when you arrive on campus at Michigan.

1. Exploring course options

The first and most obvious reason to seek out academic advising is to help create a path for your undergraduate experience. Advisors can help you with your initial registration for any given semester, assist you in considering the pros and cons of adding/dropping a course, and help you make sure you’re making proper progress toward graduation. They can also help you explore all of the majors and minors you could possibly pursue. Finally, if you’re looking to take a course at a community college over the summer or spend a semester abroad, academic advisors can help you figure out your path to studying abroad or transferring in credits from outside the university.

2. Planning for the future

Academic advisors are not only available to help you figure out your major and your undergraduate coursework. They can also help you with internship/career exploration, as well as exploring the possibility of graduate school. Advisors can even help you with very specific career paths. For example, Newnan Advising has two pre-law advisors and multiple pre-med advisors to help students who are looking to go to law school or medical school after their undergraduate degree. In my case, I am looking to pursue a Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan upon graduating, so I will be speaking with my advisor about preparing to apply for graduate school this coming fall. Keep in mind you can also go to a career office on campus to discuss these topics. Newnan Advising, for example, may refer students to the LSA Opportunity Hub for more extensive internship or career exploration. For a non-school-specific career office, check out the University Career Center’s resources.

3. Troubleshooting academic struggles

It is not easy to perform well academically at the University of Michigan, and your academic advisors know this. Thankfully, academic advisors can help support you when you are dealing with academic struggles and can help you troubleshoot whatever issues you may be having to get you on the path to success in your time here at Michigan.

Academic advising is an extremely useful free tool available to every student at the University of Michigan. My academic advisor, the endlessly talented Ryan Plis, has seen me change majors a half-dozen times and has helped me to pursue coursework in everything from Political Science to English to Statistics and Mathematics. My undergraduate experience wouldn’t have been the same without his guidance, expertise, and support. Thus, my parting advice to any prospective students is simple – find your Ryan.

Happy holidays, and Go Blue!


Zane Harding
Zane Harding

Zane is a graduating senior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts with a major in English. He first became passionate about writing when he helped found the Michigan Society for American Baseball Research (better known as M-SABR) and joined SB Nation's Bless You Boys contributing articles on the Detroit Tigers. Zane has spent the past month living vicariously through his Animal Crossing villager and looking at U-M job listings to pass the time during social distancing.