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Department of Environmental Biology
Being a Good Advisee

The relationship with your advisor is an important one, so learn to nurture it. Each advisor operates differently: some have an open door, some have posted office hours, and others may want you to make appointments. Some like to handle routine questions by email, but others prefer to interact face-to-face. All advisors have a telephone (see above) with voice mail and a mailbox in the mailroom (Illick Hall 246) - all these can help in establishing contact with your advisor. Like people in general, advisors vary greatly in their tolerance; but you can make a favorable impression on any advisor with a little bit of forethought. Here are some tips:

  1. Keep your appointments. Your advisor is a very busy person, so be on time. If you can’t make the appointment, give notice in person or by phone or email, as far in advance as possible, so that he/she can make schedule adjustments.
  2. Be prepared. You aren’t expected to know everything, or advisors would be superfluous. But your advisor will expect that you are familiar with the general requirements of the degree. It might help to review the General Information section of this handbook.
    • If the meeting is about registration for courses ...
      • ... review your Curriculum Plan Sheet before coming. Know what the degree requirements are, and what remains to be completed. Your advisor can help you with any confusing points, but make an effort to learn the curriculum.
      • ... have a preliminary plan. Don’t just sit down and say “what should I take”? Have some options in mind, and ask your advisor for recommendations or alternatives. Pay attention to course restrictions and prerequisites.
      • ...check the Registrar’s website for course availability and times. The printed schedule from Syracuse University has ESF courses, but it goes to press months before it is used, and many things change in the interim. Don’t depend on your advisor to notice such changes.
    • If the meeting is about a petition ...
      • ... bring a form. They can be obtained from the Registrar’s office or from the Curriculum Director. Your advisor probably does not have a supply. Fill out all the top personal information before coming, but leave the “request” and “justification” sections blank.
      • ... have a clear idea of what you are asking for, and bring some draft wording. Get approval of the draft text before copying it to the form.
      • ... bring any necessary information. If the petition is about transferring a course from another institution, be sure to bring the information noted near the front of this handbook, under “GENERAL INFORMATION: Petitions.”
  3. Be respectful and take responsibility for your own academic program.