Think beyond a class schedule when building a relationship with your adviser

Thursday, July 25, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — One of the more important relationships a student has at MU is the one they share with an academic adviser.

Sharyn Freyermuth is director of academic advising in biochemistry and assistant dean of academic programs in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. She suggests coming in at least once a semester.

While discussing which classes to take during the upcoming semester is fine, she said, she advises students to look to the future. Career goals are also something to discuss with an adviser. 

Also, if students are struggling or have concerns of any kind, Freyermuth encourages them to stop by to talk to her.

Still, there is more to the relationship beyond academics and problems. Freyermuth also asks students to share their accomplishments with her, which helps expand the relationship. Then if a student asks for a letter of recommendation, the adviser is in a better position to write something meaningful about the student.

This knowledge also helps if an adviser hears of a job opportunity or internship; they are in a better position to direct it to the student with the best fit.

"Plus, most of us really like students," Freyermuth said. "And we enjoy getting to know them at times other than just when they need to register for classes."

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