/Planning for next semester: the dos and don’ts of advising 
Graphic by Bell Jackson

Planning for next semester: the dos and don’ts of advising 

By Ashlee Hall, Lifestyles editor

It’s that time of year again: where it is time to start planning your next semester. Do not let the daunting planning process stress you out. Instead, make a tentative plan and meet with your advisor.  

The steps to registering for classes are straightforward: make a tentative schedule for the next semester based off of your degree plan. Then, schedule a time to meet with your advisor, prepared with the schedule you created. Once you meet with your advisor, they will clear you for registration and you will register on your designated day.  

Your advising appointment is a luck of the draw and can go either one of two ways. Some advisors are diligent in ensuring their students are making a good schedule and taking the correct courses to stay on the right track for graduation, while other advisors are not as involved in the schedule-making process and just approve you to register.  

Thankfully, Dr. Finklea has been a committed advisor making sure I am staying on track by taking all of the right courses that will best benefit me and my career goals.  

Dr. Finklea is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Mass Communication Department and is an alumni of the University of Montevallo. After my first advising appointment with him in my freshman year, I have continued to stay on track ever since.  

I credit this to the four-year tentative plan he made for me. Before every advising appointment, I look at the plan, cross off what I have completed, look at the class schedule and make a list of the courses I have left to take. Then, our advising appointments consist of double checking to make sure the plan looks good and that I am set to graduate on time.  

Not everyone is as lucky with their advisor, but here are some tips and tricks to help you through the process. Print out your degree plan, cross off what you have taken, look at the classes that are the next level up and cross-reference those with the schedule your department has posted of courses offered the next semester. Finally, make sure you have taken the prerequisites for those courses and that they all fit in a cohesive schedule.  

Since UM is a liberal arts institution, you are required to take courses in every college. This is to ensure that graduates from the university are receiving a well-rounded education. The classes that fall into this category are your general education classes, humanities, social sciences and electives. As far as these classes go, I recommend getting as many of them out of the way as soon as you can and then taking the rest as you go. If you are unsure of which classes to choose for the different requirements, do not be afraid to ask around to see what classes others have taken and recommend.  

The last tip and arguably the most important one: do not be afraid to advocate for yourself. Prepare for your advising appointment by making that tentative schedule and ask your advisor to double check it with your degree plan. If after advising, you still feel unsure about your schedule, find a faculty member in your department that you trust and ask them to talk you through your degree plan and make sure you are taking the classes that will best set you up for success.  

Your registration day depends on your classification and opens at 7 a.m. on each of these days. 

Wed., Nov. 1: Seniors & Honors, DSS, TRIO, other priority registration students 

Fri., Nov. 3: Juniors & Athletes 

Tues., Nov. 7: Sophomores 

Thurs., Nov. 9: Freshmen 

+ posts

Ashlee Hall is the lifestyles editor for The Alabamian. She is majoring in mass communication with a concentration in multimedia journalism with minors in public relations, social media administration and food and nutrition sciences. In her free time, she enjoys reading “Southern Living Magazine,” curling her hair and making niche Spotify playlists.