Academic Advising

Guiding TRIO SSS students from orientation to graduation

TRIO SSS offers an array of academic support to eligible students. All services are free of charge and available for the duration of each student's college career. TRIO SSS employs four academic advisors: Darlene Samson, Janet Zupan, Heather Hibbard, and Peter Donaldson. Because they spend the majority of their time answering an array of academic, financial, and personal questions, TRIO SSS students receive perhaps the highest quality of advising found on the UM campus.

How do TRIO SSS students benefit from our advising?

  • Time and attention are two of the greatest benefits you'll find when working with TRIO SSS advisors. Students can meet with TRIO SSS advisors by appointment, or by walk-in, when available. Students are not limited to the amount of time they can spend discussing issues of special concern. Many students will meet one-on-one with an advisor several times over the semester until their concerns are satisfactorily answered.
  • Confidentiality: TRIO SSS students can remain secure in the fact that all advising contact is kept in strict confidentiality by all TRIO SSS staff. We believe that in order to truly help a student, that student must feel comfortable to address all of their circumstances.
  • In the advising loop: TRIO SSS is just one floor below the Undergraduate Advising Center, UM's central advising office. Our close proximity to UAC benefits students in that the latest advising information is constantly circulating among staff. TRIO SSS students can be sure that they'll receive accurate advice because the staff are knowledgeable of current changes in advising policy.

Questions that come up during advising

Q: I attended the last registration.  I was not given an advisor at all or any help to sign up for classes.  I had to run around to find someone and went through 3 different people.

A: It’s a good idea to check your Profile in Academic Planner to find the name of your current advisor. If you have a declared major, we encourage you to talk with your department. If you are undeclared, pre-comm, pre-psyx, or freshman business, TRIO SSS advisors are ready and willing to meet with you.

Q: What if 2 of my finals are on the same day at the same time?

A: The finals schedule is designed to avoid this type of conflict, but this happens from  time to time. First, check the official UM Finals schedule; if conflict still is present, check in with the professor from each course to confirm date, time, and location. Negotiate with your professors early in the semester, so that you can straighten out the conflict.  Adjustments can be made so that one of the finals is moved to an alternate time.

Q: If I already have an advisor for my major, should I stick with them or change to TRIO SSS?  What would be better?

A: TRIO SSS advisors encourage students who have a declared major and/or departmental advisor to maintain contact with their assigned advisor.  TRIO SSS advisors offer supplemental advising and are glad to meet with you.

Q: What happens if you can’t find work study?

A: Here’s a good source of information:  There are additional resources available to help you learn how to better develop your application materials, know how to interview, and sell yourself, including TRIO SSS, Career Services, and Internship services.

Q: What does an advisor do for you?  How often should you meet with them? 

A: Here’s how NACADA  defines an advisor’s role:  Academic advising is integral to fulfilling the teaching and learning mission of higher education. Through academic advising, students learn to become members of their higher education community, to think critically about their roles and responsibilities as students, and to prepare to be educated citizens of a democratic society and a global community. Academic advising engages students beyond their own world views, while acknowledging their individual characteristics, values, and motivations as they enter, move through, and exit the university. TRiO advising is a collaborative educational process where students and Advisors are partners in meeting and ensuring academic, personal, and career goals.

Q: Where can I go for counseling? 

A: Personal counseling can be provided through Curry Health Center. 

Q: Catalog navigation help?  I had a hard time finding class as most are in major sections.

A: It does take a bit of practice to navigate the catalog. We recommend using the A-Z index in the catalog for starters, and conducting a search when you struggle to find the right information. Please don’t hesitate to talk with a TRIO advisor and we’ll go online with you to find what you are looking for.