Advising - FAQ's 

Getting into the major/minor:

How do I declare a Communication major or minor?

You can make an appointment to declare either of our majors or minor in the Communication office (CAC 225) or by calling 715.346.3409 during regular office hours. The office staff will set an appointment with a division representative, who will meet with you to discuss your decision and to fill out the necessary paperwork.

Advising Information:

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Advising Information

How do I get assigned an academic advisor?

You will be assigned an academic advisor when you meet with a division representative to declare a communication or arts management major. We generally do not assign advisors to communication minors, but can do so if you make that request. 

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Who is my advisor?

If you have had your initial meeting, your advisor's name will appear on the declaration form you completed at that meeting. Your advisor's name will also be at the top of your Degree Progress Report and in several places in MyPoint.

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What do academic advisors do?

Most often, academic advisors do some or all of the following:

  • Help students formulate academic plans of study. These plans are based upon students’ interests, goals, and academic strengths.
  • Help students interpret Degree Progress Reports (DPRs) provided by UWSP.
  • Explain General Education Requirements as well as major requirements, and monitor student progress toward fulfilling them.
  • Help students interpret various University procedures, including information about dropping or adding courses, changing majors or minors, or withdrawing from the University.
  • Refer students to various campus resources when necessary. Such resources might include Registration and Records, Financial Aid, Services for Students with Disabilities, or the Tutoring-Learning Center.
  • Encourage students to develop relationships with their professors, and to seek assistance from instructors if they are having difficulty in courses.
  • Help students understand various career opportunities available to them.
  • Encourage students to engage in activities that will enhance both the academic and social experience while at UWSP.

Notice that most of these tasks state that an advisor’s role is to help or assist the student in making decisions or in finding out answers. That’s because the most important ingredient in a successful advisor-student relationship is YOU! Any advisor – even the most incredible one – can only work with what he or she is given. It is your responsibility to know and follow the rules.


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When should I see my advisor?

You must receive clearance from your advisor before you can register for classes for fall and spring semesters. Although we do not recommend it, some of you might see your advisor only when registration scheduling time comes around. While many of our advisors make it a point to contact their advisees before registration (usually via e-mail), others do not. You are responsible for contacting your advisor, finding out when he or she is available, and showing up for your assigned appointment. 

Many of our students seek out their advisors much more regularly. Your advisor can be a great source of information about campus affairs and activities, as well as a listening post and job contact. When it comes time to start applying for jobs, you’ll need references, and your advisor can be a valuable reference for you if you take the time to get to know him or her. Grades are important, but so are contacts. The more your advisor knows about you, the more he or she can say about your abilities to a potential employer. 


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What am I supposed to do in the advising process?

The University Handbook points to the following advising-related tasks that students should perform:

  • Determine a course of study that satisfies the requirements defined for the appropriate degree in the UWSP catalog.
  • Schedule and appear promptly for appointments with the adviser when necessary (at least once each semester).
  • Prepare for an advising session by having the necessary forms available and a list of questions and courses (and alternatives) needed.
  • Know about policies, procedures, and requirements as published.
  • Be prepared to discuss personal values and goals as they relate to academic and career-related needs.
  • Follow through with appropriate action after the advising meeting.
  • Accept responsibility for the academic decisions to be made.

As you can see, being a good student takes work. You should rely upon other students, your parents, and (especially) your academic advisor to help you have the best college experience possible.

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How do I get ready for my advising appointment?

First, you'll need to look up your registration information on MyPoint. You need to meet with your advisor before your registration time, or you won’t be able to sign up for any classes! You should print out two copies of your Degree Progress Report (one to keep, one for your advisor), which is a complete list of courses you’ve taken or are currently taking, grades you’ve received, and the GDR and major/minor requirements that those courses satisfy. The DPR also lists your major and minor, and your assigned advisor or advisors. You should look over the DPR and see which requirements you need to fulfill. Any requirement that is not complete will have either a "NO" or a minus sign (-) next to it. Begin with those. 

Then, you’ll want to make sure you’ve declared any additional majors or minors you plan to complete. Go to the appropriate office and complete any necessary paperwork. The more information you and your advisor have available, the better you can plan your academic future.

Once you have determined what you still need to take, you’ll need to find courses that fit your schedule. To do that, you’ll need to consult the Timetable.

You can use the pull-down menus to select a particular term (Fall, Spring, Winterim, or Summer), a specific curriculum (such as Biology or Communication), or a specific type of course such as a course in a particular General Education category, or only 300-level courses). Once you’ve selected courses you think you might like to take, check to see whether the course has any prerequisites. For example, in order to take Comm 321, you need to have completed Comm 221. Also check to see whether you need special permission before you can register for a course. It will have a “PR” next to the course or section number. If a course is marked PR, you must ask the instructor of the section you want to give you permission to register for the course. You won’t be able to register for the course without that permission. Normally, you can just send an e-mail to the instructor of the section you want when making that request, but be certain to specify the section you want (if there are multiple sections) and include your student identification number when you make the request.

You’ll search the Timetable for the courses you need to satisfy your GDR, major, and/or minor requirements and find ones that fit together into a schedule. Then you’ll want to find ALTERNATE courses that you can take in case the ones you want fill up before your registration time, always checking to see which requirements they satisfy. Use your Catalog to check about requirements that don’t show up on your DPR (if you’re considering adding a minor, for example). AFTER YOU’VE DONE THIS WORK, you’re ready to see your advisor!


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How do I find my advisor?

The Communication office makes a list available of faculty members’ office numbers, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and posted office hours. Registration advising time gets busy, so many faculty members put up lists of times they are available for advising. Check your advisor to see when she or he is available.


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What happens if I don't like my advisor?

It happens. Sometimes students change majors or emphases. Other times, student and advisor personalities just don’t mesh. You are free to change advisors at any time. Just send an e-mail to Rhonda Sprague (Rhonda.Sprague@uwsp.edu) to request an advisor change.


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How else can I prepare to have a great advising experience in the Division of Communication?


Here are some good ways to get the best advice possible:
 

  • Talk to your parents, relatives, and friends about their college experiences. Find out what they liked, didn’t like, and learned about being in college.
  • Read the entire University Catalog (not just the section for your major). It contains valuable information about University policies and resources, as well as details about majors and minors. If you can’t get to your paper catalog, you can access excellent policy information on the Registration & Records website.
  • Review all information you receive about student rights and responsibilities. Pay special attention to items related to academic misconduct (such as plagiarism and other forms of cheating). Talk to your advisor if you do not understand what constitutes academic misconduct, or if you need information about the various consequences that can result from committing it.
  • Buy a day planner from the bookstore or from another source. Use it to record due dates for readings and other assignments, meetings with other students, and anything else you might otherwise forget.
  • Make contact with your advisor early. You don’t need to schedule a formal appointment. Just stop in and say hello if you see his or her door open.
  • Talk to important people (especially parents and friends back home) about a typical day. This will help them understand the kinds of issues you face on a regular basis.
  • Consider showing your parents a course syllabus and talking with them about your instructors.
  • Find out where important offices are located on campus: Financial Aid, Student Employment, The Tutoring-Learning Center, Student Involvement and Employment, the Student Health Center, and Registration and Records are all places you might need to visit.
  • Remember that your educational record is private. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act guarantees that information about your academic performance cannot be shared with anyone without your permission. If you would like your parents or someone else to speak with a professor or administrator on your behalf, you need to authorize them to do so. Your advisor can help you complete a waiver form to give them that permission.  


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