I wrote in a previous post that students should be prepared to create their own board of advisers in college because college is never a one-stop advising experience. But, as one of my best friends said to me today, that is an incredibly daunting task. How are college students supposed to expand their board of advisers beyond the ones the college gives them? Is it really up to them? It is so incredibly intimidating to approach a graduate student, much less a professor!
Luckily, many colleges hold events in the form of teas, lunches, dinners or academic talks that invite faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates alike to participate. These are important programs because they give you a chance to interact with instructors in a casual setting, thus facilitating relationship-building with people who dedicate their lives to fields that may interest you in your four years on campus and beyond.
Whether you are a high school student exploring prospective colleges or a current college student trying to figure this out, here are some key questions to ask deans, RA’s, tour guides, professors, and other students:
Students who get to know faculty have a significantly better experience in college than those who don’t.
Be one of them.
For many years, as a dean at three Ivy League colleges and now as an AVP at a university with an extraordinary mission, I have had a front row seat to the obstacles to success that college students and their parents confront every year. Even at so-called elite, highly selective colleges such as Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia, where I spent some of my career, students struggle on a daily basis to remain healthy, happy, grounded, and to stay in school. I am dedicated to helping them.