Getting to know new people and making friends is one of the most rewarding aspects of college. As it can be a very trying and unnerving time for many students, having trusted people to rely upon can be invaluable. There are several key people on college campuses that every student should get to know for various reasons. These people can help point students in the right directions academically, financially and personally.
First, every college student should get to know their assigned counselor very well. Students are generally designated an academic counselor or advisor based on their chosen major, their class year, their last name or other specific characteristics. These counselors are students’ biggest advocates. They aim to keep them on track academically by helping them choose the right classes, encouraging them to make good grades and sometimes meeting with professors on their behalf. Counselors also provide students with career advice and direction when needed.
Another very important person students should get to know is their dorm resident advisor or RA. RAs live in college dorms and on campus housing units in order to provide guidance and support for residents. They offer advice, help them with the transition into college and generally enforce the rules of the university. RAs can be great sources of encouragement and information for incoming freshmen new to college living.
If a student is receiving financial assistance to attend school, getting to know college financial aid advisors is essential. Financial aid information and regulations can be confusing for students, especially when guidelines and award packages change. These advisors are there to help students navigate the confusing rules and paperwork, and even help them find ways to earn more money through scholarship, grant and campus employment opportunities.
Teaching assistants (TA) are also great individuals to know. Because college classes are generally more time consuming, work intensive and rigorous than high school classes, many incoming students find them overwhelming. In larger classrooms, professors will employ TAs to help them answer students’ question, lead discussion groups and other tasks. Students that get to know their TAs can feel more comfortable seeking help with complex material.
These professionals, resident advisors, counselors, financial aid advisors and teaching assistants, are all advocates for college students’ success. It is wise for students to meet and get to know them personally, as they can provide invaluable help, guidance and support during confusing times.