When I graduated from high school, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew-up; and because of this, as most students I spent my first year wondering around the local college campus yearning to understand the answer to this question. I originally started out majoring in history, with an expectation of becoming a teacher. After that, I discovered the amazing world of the humanities, and sought to learn how to get a job in this field, with little to no success. Next, I literally landed in the Department of Psychology, and thought I had found my niche in the academic world. It was at this time, I had my first experience with Academic Advising, when I visited the local academic advising office to determine what classes I would need to transfer to another college. Sterling Holloway once said, "If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there." Again, this sums up my first year of college, and why I wish to become an Academic Advisor. My interest in this career field developed while I was an undergraduate at the University of Florida. While attending this school I was unsure of what I wanted to do after graduation, it was at this time I had the opportunity to sit down with an academic advisor. My advisor and I discussed my likes and dislikes, both academically and personally; at the end of this discussion, I asked him what one has to do to become an academic advisor, because the exchange made me realize this would fit me perfectly. My advisor suggested looking into the college of education with an emphasis in education leadership. Besides this positive experience, I have also had negative experiences with Academic Advising, and I would like to prevent other students from the same situation. When I was a student at Santa Fe Community College, I was given wrong information about classes/grades needed in order to transfer to the University of Florida's psychology department. Had I not researched the program myself, and gone on the face value of what my advisor had told me, there is a strong possibility I would not have been accepted because the of lack of necessary classes/grades. There are many paths to an ultimate goal, and I will admit, mine took the scenic view. In order to become an Academic Advisor, one must complete a master’s degree in either student development or higher education leadership. There are many schools which offer degrees in these fields, such as Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. LSU offers a Master’s of Arts in Higher Education Leadership, and takes approximately two years to complete. Another school is Kansas State University in Kansas City, Kansas. As with the LSU program, KSU offers a degree in Higher Education Leadership, and takes approximately two years to complete. If leaving the great State of Florida is not to your liking, one could always apply to the University of Florida, again, this school offers a degree in Higher Education Leadership and takes approximately two years. Now that I have my degree, what’s next? Well that is the question that plagues most college graduates, and the answer it never an easy one. However, I am here to help you with this question, if you are interested in following my lead and becoming the next great advisor. The first place one could start looking for employment in this field the National Association for College Admissions Counseling and clicking on the job opportunities link. At this site, one can locate jobs by United States Region or internationally, if that suites your fancy. However, if you already have your heart set on a certain school, one could simply check out each school’s employment links. If you would like information regarding the salary range for Academic Advising is Salary.Com. This site can tell you what an advisor living in the different states could expect to make as an annual salary. Another good site about what it is like being an academic advisor is Academic360, there is information about employment, the different professional organizations, and different resources available for those seeking a career in this field. I hope the information I have provided you will allow you to consider this exciting career field, and if not, I hope I have provided you with an insight of what the person who helps you decide what classes you need is like. What ever you do in life, always….Always enjoy what you are doing.
Websites listed in the Document
Louisiana State University
University of Florida
Kansas State University
National Association for College Admissions Counseling