Handout to Tutees: Preparing for Registration
(This example of a pro-active advising strategy was provided to us from Jackie Brown, Biology. He provides this letter to his tutees at their first meeting on Sunday in August.)
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Preparation for pre-registration advising appointment
You and I begin today a relationship that will last (in a formal sense) until the time you declare your major and choose an advisor in that discipline, usually during the Spring Semester of your second year. Like many things in life, crafting a course of study at Grinnell is going to be a scary mix of freedom and responsibility. I think you already understand the freedom part of this mix -- that Grinnell has no specific course requirements besides the tutorial. Simply stated, my primary responsibility as an academic adviser is to make sure you choose a curriculum that fulfills the broad definitions of a liberal arts education, as I interpret it. Your responsibility is to articulate what your definition is, and to explain how your proposed course of study fulfills it. If our views do not mesh (and there is nothing wrong with that!), we will have to come to some agreement through a process of reasoned argument. In short, you are going to have to convince me that your definition is a good one and consistent with your proposed curriculum.
So, to begin this process, I ask you to do the following before coming to your pre-registration advising meeting on Monday or Tuesday:
- 1. Consider our discussion today and the examples of definitions of the liberal arts you've been provided or heard about. Put into writing your current view of the elements of a liberal education, and how they relate to your academic and personal goals during the next four years. Bring 2 copies to your pre-registration meeting, so I can discuss it with you and keep a copy in your file for future discussion, revision etc.
- 2. Using the various resources you've been given (catalog, course schedule, closed course list, writing inventory, etc.), come to the meeting with a plan for 4 courses for this semester. The searchable database on Pioneerweb is also a useful way to search for courses. Make sure courses don't conflict in meeting times -- use the grid on the front on the course schedule, paying attention to lab times for courses in the sciences and arts.
- 3. For each of the courses you've chosen, list an alternative course, in case your first choice changes between now and Wednesday or is closed.
I'm looking forward to getting to know you, advising you, and learning from you.