When we think about advising students we often focus on the obvious; what course comes next in the student’s sequence? However, there is more to successful advisement than sequence. Whether advice comes from a counselor or a faculty member, here are some other things for the students to discuss and consider before they register.

Course load and timing: Some students might not succeed in a math class if it is taken along with other demanding courses. This could mean how many classes are being taken in a day or in the schedule in total. If math is the 5th in a string of 5 straight classes, it might not go well. Also, if a student is taking 18 credits, they might be stretched too thin to put in the time it takes to succeed in a math course. This can be compounded if there are work or home responsibilities. When giving advice about course load, think about the student’s entire schedule.

Delivery method:  Online is not for everyone. Once-a-week classes are not for everyone. Sometimes students get advised into bad modes of delivery because of scheduling conflicts. Sometimes it is just because no one ever asked how the student might handle this mode of delivery.

Time of day:  A student who needs to get their kids on the bus at 7:50 probably shouldn’t take a class at 8:00 am. Someone who gets off work at 5:00 might not make a 5:30 class.  It seems obvious, but sometimes students forget to factor in the basics and allow enough time between outside requirements.

Teaching Style: Teachers have a unique style. Sometimes a teaching style and learning preference don’t match up. A faculty member who favors mostly lecture, might not match a student who prefers a more active experience.

The bottom line is try to learn as much as you can about a student’s situation before giving advice about course selection. Remember, it isn’t just about “What comes next?”