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Under Advisement: A quick guide to advising at Carleton.

Tate shows many of the ways you'll be advised at Carleton.

Tate shows many of the ways you'll be advised at Carleton.

When you tour colleges, you’ll often hear people talk about academic advising. Working as a tour guide, I often get asked what advising looks like at Carleton. And I always say that you will be very thoroughly advised here at Carleton! You’ll interact with a bunch of people who are available to help you through your time here. I’ll take you through our formal advising offerings.

Liberal Arts Advising

Right when you start at Carleton, you’ll be assigned a liberal arts advisor. In fact, your first meeting with them will be during New Student Week, your orientation week at Carleton. Their job is to set you up for success. They’ll encourage you to explore our class selections, make sure you’re fulfilling your liberal arts requirements in a timely manner, and help you find what you’re passionate about. You’re required to meet with your liberal arts advisor at least once per term, before you choose your classes. Also, Carleton tries to make your liberal arts advisor the same person as your A&I professor. This means that you’ll be able to interact with your advisor in the classroom and form a strong connection with them. They’ll be able to advise you more fully because they know you well.

Argument and Inquiry Seminar
This A&I class took a trip to the Ordway Theater in Minneapolis, but each A&I seminar and professor will be unique!

My liberal arts advisor was my A&I professor, and I loved interacting with him. By the time I finished up working with him, I had completed all but one of my liberal arts requirements, even though I wasn’t quite paying attention to them. And he was actually the one who encouraged me to take my first linguistics class, and I ended up declaring linguistics as my major! This is where the time with your liberal arts advisor comes to an end. Once you declare your major, you move on from them to your major advisor.

Major Advising

A major advisor serves a similar role, but is more specialized to your major. Their job is to get you through your major. Departments often try to place you with a major advisor you already know. At this point, I’ve taken four classes with my major advisor for the linguistics department. And even outside classes, I’ve met with her for help on things like research, internships, and advice for life after Carleton. I’ve asked her many times for advice and recommendations. But your major advisor’s main function is to make sure you’re fulfilling your major requirements and help you find your niche in the department. Additionally, they’ll encourage you to start thinking about comps, your final capstone or thesis project.

The theater department talks with an accepted student at a major fair.
Major and Department fairs are a great chance to get to know the department you’re interested in!

Comps Advising

This is where your comps advisor comes in. Their primary function is to (you guessed it) get you through comps. Comps is a pretty long and arduous process, and it’s not something you can just procrastinate on. Your comps advisor helps you select a topic and then keeps you on schedule to complete it on time. You’re also matched to a comps advisor based on your project’s contents, so they’ll be a great resource for your work. My music comps is going to involve me singing and playing the piano at the same time, so my advisor is going to be my piano instructor, who has experience performing art music for the singing pianist.

Career Advising

Once you’ve completed comps, you’re pretty much done with your time at Carleton. But advising isn’t confined to academics here! Carleton wants to make sure you’re set up for life after your time here. And so, one more advisor you’ll have at Carleton is your Career Center Advisor. This is something that is being phased in for the coming years, so there aren’t many resources about it. However, once you get to Carleton, you’ll be paired with a Career Center staff member. They’re your resource to make going to the Career Center a less scary experience. And they’ll be your initial contact point for Career Center offerings like resume writing, practice with job interviews, and finding employment opportunities.

A Career Center event
The Career Center also hosts lots of events and speakers that you can check out!

I know college, especially an academically rigorous one like Carleton, can seem really daunting. But, there are lots of people trying to make your experience here as smooth as possible. Your advisors will become some of your best resources here, and you’ll have so many of them! If you double major, you’ll even get two major advisors and two comps advisors. You’ve got tons of people rooting for you here.

Tate (he/him) is a senior hailing from Colfax, WI (just two hours east of Carleton). He is double majoring in Linguistics and Music and minoring in Cognitive Science. Outside of academics, he sings in Carleton Choir, Chamber Choir, and Exit 69 A Cappella, serves on the Experimental Theater Board, and DJs for KRLX. He also founded Off The Cuff, Carleton’s storytelling organization. When he’s not occupied by these activities, he enjoys hiking in the Arb, attending screenings in the Weitz cinema, and telling anyone who will listen about ridiculous linguistic example sentences. Meet the other bloggers!