Advisement Basics

While prior educational experiences may have, at different points, presented certain challenges, the rigor of study within a polytechnic setting and the exploration of various career paths you might following, will undoubtedly require that you consult with an academic advisor. Taking full advantage of advisement opportunities can greatly enhance your overall educational experience while studying at Cal Poly Pomona…

The Value of Academic Advisement

When it comes to your academic life, your advisors can help you chart and remain on an academic path, assist you in navigating rough waters, and prepare and support you as you consider advanced studies or career options.

While students are encouraged to enter their advisement sessions well prepared -- pre-advisement forms completed and a variety of questions and requests prepared -- advisement by its very nature is an opportunity to consult with and receive counsel from someone who can support you. That’s what the word “advisement” means.

Your advisor has likely completed at least six to twelve years of post-secondary education (baccalaureate, masters and/or doctoral degrees) in a field of study related to your own, or in student development in higher education. In addition, your advisor has undoubtedly encountered a myriad of professional, academic and personal life experiences that you might learn from. Get to know your advisor – this will likely become one of the most important relationships you develop while studying at Cal Poly Pomona.


Find your Advisor

In Find Your Advisor you will not only learn who your advisor is, but also when you should meet with your advisor and pertinent contact information.

When to See Your Advisor

You are encouraged to see your advisor early and often. Your advisor should be able to answer any questions you might have regarding your program, options, opportunities, standing or progress toward degree. Some departments require that you seek advisement during certain quarters, or at certain stages in your academic program. Check with your department to learn more about its academic advisement expectations. Required advisement will appear as a hold (also known as a “Service Indicator”) in BroncoDirect, Student Center.

Preparing for Your Academic Advisement Session

What does my advisor need me to do before my advisement session? The answer to this question depends upon a few things: what your major is, how well you are performing, and where you are in your program. A growing number of departments and colleges are requiring that their students complete a pre-advisement worksheet before seeing an advisor. If unsure what your department expects go to your department and ask what their policy is.

Regardless of what your department requires, be sure to come with a list of questions. No question is too stupid to ask. Advisement by its very nature is an opportunity to consult with and receive counsel from someone who can support you. That’s what “advisement” means.


Office Hours vs. Advisement Appointments

In some cases, advisors will use “office hours” to see students for advisement, but you should always check before just dropping in.  Office hours are commonly reserved for supplemental assistance students might need in courses that your advisor is teaching.  Your advisor might have other hours specifically set aside for advisement, so it is always best to ask your advisor when and how to make appointments for advisement.

Following advisement
If during the course of advisement a “to do” list was not developed, take a few minutes to scribe notes of the session and things you advisor has asked you to attend to.  Also, be sure to maintain a personal file of all advisement documents and notes your advisor may have provided.

Having Multiple Advisors

Some departments allow you to see different advisors within your major, while others require that you see one specific person. You may discover that you have more than one advisor. This is often the case when a student participates in certain student support programs, is a member of a special academic program, or has a second major or minor. In cases like this it is important that you, the advisee, keep the two or three parties informed of plans and changes. When approaching graduation, you might find the need to meet with an Evaluator in the Registrar’s Office. While not an advisor this person works alongside your advisor to ensure you are remaining on track to graduation. This person will be especially helpful to you if you have questions regarding how a course is being applied to your Degree Progress Report or about deficiencies that remain unmet.

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Ready, Set, Graduate!

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With a focus on retention and improved graduation rates campus-wide, the mission of the Graduation Initiative is clear, “To reinforce quality education and promote academic success by understanding the issues that hinder retention and completion and addressing the findings with appropriate interventions, services, and practices.”  Interested in learning more and getting involved?   Learn more here.