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Topics for Discussion


  • 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
  • If appropriate, the balance between extracurricular activities and academic work
  • How the student’s choices contribute to post-Hamilton career plans


Questions to help start a conversation with new students

  • What does it mean to be learning at a liberal arts institution?
  • How can be helpful to take intellectual risks?
  • Why might it be especially important to explore courses outside of your primary interests in your first year of college?
  • In what ways do you expect college to be different from high school?  How can you prepare yourself for these differences?
  • Which two of the purposes and goals you think you have the greatest strength in and why, and which two you are weakest in and why. 
    • Why do you think you're particularly strong/weak in goals X and Y?
    • What courses do you think might help you improve in those areas in which you feel weak?
    • What about the other goals you didn't mention?
  • Why do you think it can be helpful to take intellectual risks?
  • What new topic would you like to explore?  Think of three new opportunities you are interested in studying?
  • Are there extracurricular activities that interest you? Have you thought about how to balance your academic and non-academic activities?


Questions for sophomores

  • What are some new interests that have emerged in the past semester/year?
  • How have recent experiences changed your prior interests?
  • What do you envision in terms of career possibilities past Hamilton, and how do your academic interests connect to that?
  • How do you see your extra-curricular interests connecting to your academic interest?
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