Advising is for You, the Penn State Student

Your advisor's job is to help you plan your college path. Take a step toward success by meeting with your advisor at least twice per semester and bring a list of questions to discuss.

By Jen Slusser

DUS Academic Advisor

A student, a duck and a squirrel walk into an academic advisor’s office … have you heard this one?

Academic advisors have heard a lot when working with students.  They have heard reasons for changing appointment times other than the usual, “I forgot” or “I overslept”.  One student said, “I have to change my appointment time because I have to go to a family reunion.”  The appointment was on a random Thursday afternoon in February. 

They have heard comments about classes.  “I want to take astrology (instead of astronomy).”  “Music 5 is called an Introduction to Western Music.  Do we learn about country music?”

Advisors enjoy these questions and comments because they enjoy meeting with students. They listen, care about students and want to help them to be successful.  Advisors discuss ways to find the major that suits a career goal.  They are willing to answer questions, show how to use LionPATH, talk about classes, explain policies and procedures and refer students to resources.  Penn State is a large, complex institution, and advisors help students to navigate a path toward graduation.

“Advising sets you up for your career path. Stay connected with your advisor to plan your future.  Your advisor is someone by your side to help build your future,” said Nina Juliana, sophomore at Penn State Altoona.

Find your advisor’s name on LionPATH and Starfish. The “My Success Network” on Starfish provides contact information for your advisor.  DUS advisors and some faculty advisors ask students to schedule appointments using Starfish. Email is also a useful tool to contact your advisor.   

Each semester, your registration date is listed on your LionPATH homepage, in a box labeled “Enrollment Dates”.   The shopping cart date is also listed, so students can begin planning the next semester’s schedule by adding classes to the shopping cart.  Most second-year students will need to complete “Update Academics” then “Update Campus” on LionPATH to change their major and campus before registering for fall.

Summer registration is underway.  Students can take traditional or online classes offered at any Penn State location in the summer by registering on LionPATH or by contacting the World Campus for their online courses.  If taking classes at another school in the summer, use the Penn State Transfer Credits Tool website to find the other school’s equivalent to a Penn State class.

The Undergraduate Bulletin website lists information about all majors and minors, course descriptions and Suggested Academic Plans for each major. Students can explore majors by interest areas or campus location on the Bulletin site.  Career Services in 205 Slep Student Center also has many resources for students to explore majors and careers.

Take a step toward success by meeting with your advisor at least twice per semester and bring a list of questions to discuss.  “Academic advising is very helpful to coordinate what I need to do, and it takes away the stress and strain about my future,” said first-year student Silas Patterson.

After meetings with their academic advisors the duck and squirrel decided not to change their schedule or major, but the student has many opportunities and resources to explore.  Finding the right path takes thought, research and effort.  Your academic advisor is here to help you discover your ideal route.

About the Author

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Allan J. Bassler, MBA, is the co-advisor of the Penn State Altoona Collegiate Review.

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