As an incoming first-year graduate student, you will consult with both a faculty member and one or more peer advisors. With their help, you will build a course schedule, learn about the research and personalities of faculty members, and find your way around the department. There are many things to ask each of them. For your advisor, each meeting will likely be brief. To make the most of your time, plan ahead! Here’s the standard schedule for your first three meetings of the semester with your faculty advisor:
- Course Advising – The deadline for course registration comes up soon after you arrive, so your first meeting should focus on planning your curriculum for the semester. Remember to register for a total of 12 units ( Coursework, Seminars, Research, and Teaching).
- Preliminary Meeting about Research Groups – When you feel as though your investigation into research groups has started to fill out, your advisor will have insights into your choices. Your second meeting should help you narrow down those choices.
- Joining a Group – When you are comfortable enough with your decision about a group and you have gathered the requisite signatures, your first-year advisor will have a final approval meeting with you to discuss your decision.
While the above tips represent one standard set of meetings, you should feel comfortable asking your advisor any questions that may come up, either by phone, email, or in person. You should also not hesitate to ask for as many additional meetings with your advisor as you feel are necessary.
On the other hand, your peer advisors will be less formal to meet with. Getting to know them will allow you a more intimate look into life in research groups and in the department. Again, you should call on your peer advisors as frequently as you feel is necessary.