The Primary Role of the Advisor
The primary role of the advisor is to guide you through your academic program and to assist with questions or problems you may have along the way. We also enjoy getting to know you and we appreciate hearing about your successes in academics and in life. Here are some examples of discussions:
- career plans
- letters of recommendation
- applying to graduate or professional schools if this is what you want to do next
- applying for study abroad and internships
- advice as you look for summer jobs and undergraduate research.
You are encouraged to make opportunities to visit with us at times other than during the scramble of pre-enrollment.
Advisors do not select your courses for you and you are ultimately responsible for meeting all graduation requirements. However, we do track your progress and alert you of your progress toward graduation in each semester of the junior and senior year.
Tips for meeting with advisor
Everyone (especially students) at Cornell is busy and juggling a number of responsibilities and activities. To maximize the help your advisor can offer with regard to your academics:
- Plan ahead! Schedule routine appointments ahead of time.
- When you need to see your Biological Engineering advisor, use E-mail to schedule an appointment in advance and indicate why you wish to meet. If your advisor is unavailable or if you are experiencing an emergency, contact Brenda Marchewka (607.255.2173; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Professor Jean Hunter (607.255.2297; email@example.com). They will work with you and bring your advisor into the loop as quickly as possible.
- Be prepared to think about the big picture. One place you will do this is in BEE 1200 in your second semester of study, where you will prepare a draft four-year course plan. Your future direction may change, but it helps both you and your advisor to see in the beginning where you think you are headed.
- Always have a copy of your schedule or a list of courses with you when you meet with your advisor to pre-enroll. A copy of your unofficial transcript is also helpful.
- Make a list of questions and concerns that you want to raise with your advisor before you meet so you don’t forget anything important.
- Share good news and personal accomplishments with your advisor. This helps us get to know you and gives you another good reason to dialog with us.
Change of Advisor
If you have questions about your academic focus, if your interests shift, or if you decide to make some changes in the direction of your education, you may change faculty advisors (or even your major). To change advisors in Biological Engineering:
- Contact Professor Jean Hunter to discuss your situation, 607.255.2297 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contact the Counseling and Advising Office in Roberts Hall at 607.255.2257 if you are seeking a new major in CALS.
- Contact the College of Engineering Advising Office in Rhodes Hall at 607.255.7414 if you are seeking to transfer to a different Engineering major.
Biological Engineering advisors are knowledgeable about other majors in both colleges, and will talk with you even if you feel you might want to change majors. Our interest is in your education and what is best for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How can I find an advisor knowledgeable about my interests? How can I be in contact with faculty I don’t know yet?
A1. When we assigned you to your advisor, we tried to match you up according to either technical or extracurricular interests. If your interests are different from your advisor’s, try asking your advisor to suggest other people on campus for you to talk with. Go to office hours and find a chance to ask your TA or course instructor about their research interests or the projects they’ve had at work. As for getting in contact with faculty you don’t know: read their web pages and articles about their work (check the Cornell Chronicle and use your favorite search engine), read some of their scientific papers (at least the abstracts), then drop them an email and ask for an appointment to talk about whatever it is you want to discuss.
Q2. I am having trouble with staying or even getting in touch with my professors and advisers. What should I do?
A2. Some of our faculty travel extensively for their research, or teach multiple courses in a term. You know what it’s like during a week with three prelims – your faculty advisor has weeks like that too. Your first step should be to try again, reminding them of the previous message. Your next step, to try to catch them in person (get info on their travel schedule from the office professional who assists them). Set up meetings for future success by being on time and well prepared, and by following up promptly on any action items you agree on. If you need something signed and your advisor is not available, you can bring it to 207 Riley-Robb Hall where Ms. Marchewka and Dr. Hunter will do their best to help you with it.