Academic Advising Tips

Your Advisers

The faculty of the Psychology Department are excited about the opportunity to serve as academic advisers for our majors. We encourage students to approach any of the professors to serve in this capacity and we highly recommend that you select a psychology professor as an adviser as soon as you officially declare yourself a psychology or biopsychology major. Although all of the faculty are capable and willing to serve as advisers for the psychology and biopsychology majors, you may wish to inspect the faculty section of our departmental website for a description of our areas of expertise before making your selection. Note that a given professor may have a full advising load and, as a result, may refer you to another professor within our department to help balance our advising loads. If that happens, rest assured that all of the faculty in the department help each other provide the best advice for our students. Sometimes it is the case that a professor may take a sabbatical, in which case her or his advisees will be reassigned during that period to a colleague within the department. Otherwise, we try to honor students’ requests for an adviser.

Throughout the school year, we are available to answer questions regarding your academic and vocational interests. Although the departmental website includes a significant amount of career and graduate school resources, as well as a listing of all the psychology major requirements, we look forward to meeting with you individually and in small groups to discuss more personal and specific matters. We strongly recommend that you review the career and educational resources on our website. We have worked hard to provide a comprehensive list of useful materials and auxiliary websites that provide the depth and breadth of information that our students value. At a minimum, check those resources prior to meeting with your adviser so that you can enter the meeting with more refined and sophisticated questions.

Preparing For Advising Sessions

Two times per year you will meet with your adviser for the specific purpose of registering for classes in the following semester. For those two meetings, please accept the responsibility of coming prepared with a tentative schedule that typically will include 4 courses (e.g., a CORE curriculum course, a foreign language, a psychology elective, and perhaps another elective). The faculty expect you to have reviewed the requirements for the major that are listed both in the official university bulletin and on the website for the Psychology Department (see the advising checklists that provides a single, easy to use reference sheet that can be printed from the website for your use). Note that the bulletin also provides a description of each class, including the schedule in which it is offered. It is not efficient or appropriate use of our advising time to read the course schedule with you, while you decide what classes sound appealing. Instead, you should arrive having already selected the courses that make the most sense given the requirements of your major, minor, the CORE curriculum, etc.. It is a good idea to have a back-up plan in the event a desired class is full when it is your turn to register. Likewise, think about any work or sport related schedules you need to accommodate and plan accordingly. If you arrive to a meeting already prepared, then it allows the professor to spend time focused on more substantive matters, such as helping you select electives based on your specific career interests, develop internships and laboratory experiences, and discuss postgraduate plans. If you arrive unprepared for these two meetings, it is likely that you will be asked to reschedule after you have prepared. Preregistration advising occurs during a week in the fall and spring semesters and is typically preceded by an announcement from the Registrar’s Office that includes a listing of all courses and a time-table for when students will be allowed to register based on their year in school. While this is a logical time to discuss graduate school and career plans, please remember that the faculty are here throughout the semester to discuss these matters. Just make an appointment or come during office hours. Lastly, if you decide you would like to switch from one professor to another as your adviser, or would simply like to ask some questions of another professor in the department to obtain a second or third opinion, please feel comfortable doing so. We work as a team and we are not offended if you decide to switch advisers or majors. We simply want what is best for you.

Officers in Psi Chi, the Psychology Honor Society, offer the following additional advice from their perspective as students completing our program:

  1. Read the Psychology Bulletin! This will ensure that you know all the classes you need and when they are offered.
  2. Realize that some classes are only offered during even years (for example, 2012 or 2014), and some during odd years.
  3. Make a four year plan to ensure that you can fit prerequisites and your major requirements into your schedule.
  4. If there is a Special Topics class offered that you want to take, take it because it may not be offered again during your time at Oglethorpe.
  5. If you know what you want to do for graduate school, look at their admissions requirements to make sure you are meeting them.
  6.  Remember that you need 128 credits to graduate. In order to meet this requirement, you need to average 16 credits every semester!
  7. Start Algebra immediately if you do not already have the prerequisite mathematics course for Statistics.
  8. Take Statistics right after Algebra. This way the information you learned is still fresh in your mind.
  9. Once you are done with Statistics, take Research Methods, followed by Advanced Experimental Psychology. Really make getting the elements of research your focus so that you graduate knowing not only how to read research, but how to perform it too.
  10. Be involved in Psi Chi if you are eligible (see the website for entrance requirements). It not only offers you a support system, but also a wealth of knowledge from those who are on the same journey as you.
  11. Get to know your professors. Talk to them, ask them questions. They really will be eager to help you.
  12. Make sure you are taking required classes each semester. When you see one offered on the schedule, take it. You may not see it again for a year and then it could conflict with another one you need. Waiting on classes can hold up your ability to graduate on time as you will have to wait until it comes back on the schedule. Consult the bulletin for course rotation schedules.
  13. Review the entire Psychology Department website – it is full of helpful information, advice, and forms you will need during your studies.