As an online student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, you have a support team to help navigate your academic degree program as well as University processes.
One of your star players will be your academic advisor.
Why should I call my advisor?
Advisors are available during advising periods as well as throughout each semester in order to:
- Explain the curriculum, graduation requirements, policies, and procedures.
- Guide online students as they develop their academic goals.
- Connect online students with resources and services available.
To understand your curriculum, set goals
One of an advisor’s key duties is to help students understand their curriculum.
Sharon Williams-Gregory, advisor for General Studies online, says this is one of the first things she discusses with students once they’ve been admitted.
“I’m the connection for students to the University, especially for those not in this area,” she says. “Once I’ve done their advising with them, students understand our curriculum.”
A key component in understanding the curriculum and the time it will take to earn a degree is understanding what transfer credits can be applied.
Health Promotion and Wellness advisor Elizabeth LaPointe says in order to plot the most efficient path to their degree, one of the first things she does is work with students’ existing college credit.
She works with various departments to ensure certain courses can be applied.
“With transfer and reentry students, there are a lot of classes they took previously that we’re trying to have count so that they don’t have to repeat classes,” she says. “I try to make very clear to them which classes we’re substituting and that as much as possible from what they’ve taken previously counts toward our degree.”
LaPointe says in many cases, students have attended multiple institutions before enrolling at UL Lafayette. She says she wants to see them cross the stage as a Ragin’ Cajun.
“I want this to be the place they complete their degree,” she says. “I don’t want them to feel like they only receive a little coursework here and then go on to the next institution.”
LaPointe says through advising, students gain a clear path to their degree.
“They are not figuring out anything alone,” she says. “I hope the steps to be advised, enroll, and maintain their academic career is very clear. I try to lay it out as clearly as possible so they see their path to graduation.”
To stay on track
Part of your planning and preparation as a student should be to expect the unexpected. A class might fill up before you’ve had a chance to register; you spot an interesting course but are unsure how it fits into your curriculum; you’re overwhelmed with your coursework and need support.
Your advisor is available to help you explore your resources and options.
“There aren’t many things students don’t call me for even if it’s, ‘I’m having a meltdown, and I don’t know what to do,’” says Williams-Gregory. “When it comes to their academics, they reach out to me first and foremost.”
Williams-Gregory says if she doesn’t know an answer, say, about what will happen to a student’s financial aid is they drop a course, she’ll help students find the right person.
“I will answer as much as I can,” she says. “If I don’t know, I’ll find someone I can get the answer from.”
LaPointe says maintaining communication with your advisor throughout your academic career is important and expected.
Advisors can’t assist if they’re unaware of a problem.
“I always tell my advisees to copy me on any email, like if they’re having an issue enrolling in their math class, just keep me in the loop so I can assist with following up,” LaPointe says.
“Just constantly communicate with your advisor so they can advocate on your behalf.”
Who’s my advisor?
Students are assigned their advisor once they’re admitted to the University.
Online students can find their advisor by logging onto ULink and selecting “Academics” in the left-hand navigation. Advisors are listed at the bottom of the Academic Profile section. Note: Make sure to select a term to see the information.
Students can also find a directory of online advisors on the Online Program website.