Undergraduate Programs

Working with an Advisor

Tips on Making the Most of Your Advisor


George Hamon is doing poorly in a required course: Soc. 0101 – Quantitative Research Methods. George's class times conflict with his professor's office hours. He is already behind in his assignments and feels overwhelmed about the situation.

Senior Milly Sams has done very well in her courses and is now ready to graduate. However, she thinks she should be eligible for honors and nomination for one of the senior awards and cash granted to successful students during Commencement celebrations. However she does not know what the process is for getting nominated.

Maurice Gibbons is about to begin his junior year. So far, he has never consulted with his faculty advisor in planning his courses. Instead he usually enlists the help of his parents and other students in planning his course schedule. Each past registration period Maurice dashed into Dowling at the last minute and convinced someone to approve his registration.

Jeanine Fallon has had a number of family and personal problems this semester. She has not been able to study for her final exams. She has heard that sometimes professors grant students extensions into the next semester to complete the work for a course and earn a better grade, but she is unsure about asking.

The examples above depict situations in which students could use the help of their Major advisors.

Take the initiative to visit with your advisor at least once a semester outside of Registration Week to talk about:


  • how your courses are going
  • how you might be getting more out of your college experience (even if you are already doing well)
  • what kinds of honors and awards there are at Tufts and how you might go about receiving one
  • what paths you want to explore for the future
  • assist in finding help on campus with the skills of good writing, study skills, and good time management

You should visit and get to know your advisor whether you have a problem or not.

Your advisor can open doors for you and help you become familiar with the formal as well as informal “culture” of the university.


  • In case of a difficult semester because of unforeseen circumstances your advisor can explore with you the wisdom of asking your professors for an Incomplete which will allow you to extend the time for completing work in the following semester.
  • Advisors make sure you are “on track” in meeting all your course requirements.
  • They can assist in choosing courses that match your interests, abilities, and preferred style of classroom teaching.
  • The better your advisors get to know you the better they are able to write letters of reference for you and access honors and other academic awards available to their advisees.

Make your years at Tufts the best they can be! Develop a relationship with your advisor!