Advising Tips

Please review some of the tips and advice below to help yourself prepare for a productive encounter with your advisor!

Advising Tips for Students

Remember to come prepared to your advising appointment. Plan on bringing the following:

  • Copy of your transcript (available from Cyberbear).
  • Your general education checklist or your program-specific handouts (e.g. list of course requirements). These should be filled out with the courses you have completed (or are in progress) to fulfill the requirements.
  • A draft schedule of next semester’s classes. You may even email your course selections to your advisor in advance.
  • Take any placement tests you may need in advance and bring the scores with you.
  • If you are planning on pursuing a different degree: Do some research on possible programs of interest and bring relevant information.
  • Bring a notebook and writing utensil.
  • Make and bring a list of questions or concerns you may have.
  • Arrive on time! During peak advising times, advisors have back-to-back appointments. Running late not only cuts into the time you have with your advisor, but may delay subsequent appointments.
  • Take notes during your appointment. Unless you have a photographic memory, how will you remember your advising number and advisor's suggestions? Do not depend on your advisor to make you photocopies or write things down for you.
  • Come prepared. (See previous tips section.)
  • Be involved. This is YOUR education; take charge! Expect to have a discussion with your advisor about your interests, goals, and questions. Advisors cannot tell you what to do; it is our responsibility to give you information to ensure you are informed about pertinent academic information, but it's up to you to make the decisions that are best for you. As our favorite saying goes, "We advise..... YOU decide!"
  • Follow through/follow up. (See next tips section.)

So you just wrapped up visiting with your advisor about courses for next semester and had a great discussion about any resources or courses of action you may need to follow up on to be successful at Missoula College. Now what? Well, you're not done yet! Here are a few of the tasks your advisor may have recommended you complete:

  • Placement tests. Don't delay on taking the recommended placement test(s)! Lost your instruction sheet or need help interpreting your score? Check out our placement test webpage.
  • Build your schedule and/or register for courses! Chances are, during your appointment you got some great ideas for courses to take next semester. Maybe your advisor even helped you build a schedule of classes using the "Plan Ahead" feature in Cyberbear. Nevertheless, be sure you log in to Cyberbear to actually register for those courses! Please do not delay; the sooner you register, the more likely you will be able to get into the classes you want, and the less likely you'll be to experience headaches from needing to completely overhaul the initial schedule you put together.
  • Make the recommended appointments/phone calls. Don't forget to make that phone call or visit to the program/office/individual your advisor recommended. There's a strong likelihood if you don't have these completed by the next time we see you, we won't be able to help you as well as we could. Don't know where that phone number went? Visit the Who is My Advisor? directory to find the contact information for your specific advisor.
  • Do research. If you're interested in pursuing a different program or transferring to a different institution, be sure to review the departmental webpages or the course catalog to gather information and learn more about degree/program/institution requirements.

Learning how to appropriately and successfully navigate the professional world is one important soft skill college students should focus on outside of the classroom. Not only will it better prepare students for the workforce, but will help develop more positive relationships with faculty and professional staff, helping you get the most out of your education!

Here are some tips on how to best go about contacting faculty and staff:

  • Use proper English and etiquette when sending emails. It is crucial that, when sending emails, you take the time to address the individual to whom you are sending the message, use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, proofread, and thank the individual for his/her time. Always think about your "audience" when writing your email. Remember, u rnt txtng ur BFF about chillin LOL; you may be asking your professor for an extension on an assignment or requesting a department director send you more information about a program. 

    If you were Professor Alexander, would you be more apt to grant an extension to Sandy or Sally? Why?


hi Prof alexander ive been rlly sick and need more time to get my work dun i just need 1 more week n then i can be all caught up. cld u let me know if this is alright? ok thx, sandy


Dear Professor Alexander,

I am sorry I did not make it to your ANTH 100 class last week. I've been really sick with the flu. Is there any way you could grant me an extension on the assignments I missed while I was out? I have been feeling better and think I can get everything in by next week. Thank you for your time!

Sincerely, Sally Sunshine, 790000000

  • Leave a message with your information when calling. During high-traffic times in the Academic Advising Center, some students have told us that that they have not been able to get a hold of anyone even though they have called numerous times. When asked, none of the students said they had left a message. Just remember, how will we know you're trying to get a hold of us if you don't leave a message?
    When you do leave a message for a staff or faculty member, please be sure to clearly leave the following information:
    1. Your first and last name;
    2. Your phone number;
    3. Your student ID number;
    4. A brief explanation about why you're calling, so the individual that calls you back may gather the pertinent information or prepare ahead of time.