Advising at Hamilton is designed to help students make responsible, informed decisions about the course of their intellectual development. The advising system incorporates all of the formal and informal advising resources on campus.

The College supports that system by providing information about goals, regulations, policies, and procedures (e.g., purposes and goals, off-campus study opportunities, the process for declaring a concentration, and each student’s progress toward a degree) and by providing resources to support the advising process (e.g., support services and post-graduate planning). The College also provides training for advisors, conducts ongoing assessment of the advising system, and recognizes outstanding advising.

The Faculty Advisor-Student Relationship

The faculty advisor-student relationship sits at the center of a larger system of formal and informal advising resources on campus, a system that engages students in conversations that transcend mere course selection. Drawing on multiple sources of advice will enable students to make the most of their college experience through a well-thought-out exploration of various disciplines, selection and completion of a concentration, consideration of options for off-campus study, and preparation for life after Hamilton.

For the first two years, until students declare a concentration, faculty advisors help them adjust to the intellectual demands of the College. Once students declare a concentration, they will be advised by a professor in that department or program. Advisors vary in their approaches to advising, but all are eager to see students succeed and to help them toward that success. Although advisors are ready to assist, students must assume major responsibility for their own education when they matriculate at Hamilton. Students must take the initiative to seek out advice, and take responsibility for their educational plans.

Advisee-Advisor Discussions

Advisee-advisor interactions primarily will involve discussions to encourage reflection on decisions in academic planning, as noted below. The College expects that over the course of the first three years each student will become self-sufficient and independent in making decisions about the student’s educational plans, and that the advisor will facilitate such growth.

The College expects that students will familiarize themselves with:

Questions about the above topics can be directed to the Registrar’s Office or the Associate Dean of Students for Academics, as appropriate.

The College expects that advisors will communicate their availability for preregistration and informal meetings, and that students will make appointments for preregistration planning and for other discussions.

During their meetings, the student and advisor should discuss:
  • The student’s educational plan, which will evolve over time and should reflect both the student’s particular interests and abilities and the College’s purposes and goals. The advisor should inquire about the student’s plan and provide feedback and advice, as appropriate.
  • Courses throughout the College curriculum, including areas of study with which the student is unfamiliar.
  • Whether or not off-campus study should be included in the student’s educational plan.
  • The reasons for the student’s choice of concentration.
  • The student’s progress toward completion of any chosen concentration and minor.
  • What campus resources are available to assist with academic, career, and personal concerns, and, when appropriate, the advisor should make recommendations about what service(s) the student may wish to use.
  • How the student’s choices contribute to post-Hamilton career plans.

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