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Academic Advising goes virtual: How to make an appointment

remote advising
Kendall Harrow, a sophomore economics major, works on an assignment on her computer at the UNC Student Store on Wednesday, Oct. 9th, 2019. Course registration for the fall semester begins April 6. Advisors will be available virtually vis Zoom.

During a typical semester, students can pop into the Steele Building or Hardin Hub during drop-in hours to get help planning their class schedules in the weeks before and after course registration. 

Students won't be meeting in-person with advisers this spring, since campus has shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak — but, like many other aspects of campus life, academic advising has gone virtual. 

Course registration for the fall semester begins April 6. Advisers are available by appointment on Zoom, and students can make an appointment at the academic advising website, said Lora Wical, the deputy director and senior assistant dean of academic advising for the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Once their appointment is made, students will receive a confirmation email with all of the information they need to access the adviser through Zoom.

“We set it up so students should have the same ability to access advising as they have in the past, just in a virtual space, instead of face-to-face,” she said. 

If a student has trouble accessing the internet, Wical said arrangements for a phone appointment can also be made. She said students who need a phone appointment should call academic advising’s main phone number, where a staff member can help them schedule one.

Audrey Fulton, the director of undergraduate advising and student engagement in the School of Education, said students should attend these virtual advising sessions prepared with what they want to talk about in order to get the most out of their session.

“Preparation on their end as well as the adviser’s end is helpful,” Fulton said.

This extra preparation can also be helpful because virtual advising sessions are only 20 to 30 minutes long — and this time can be taken up with questions about the technical side of Zoom, Fulton said. 

Students can also ask an advisor questions through an online chat feature available on the academic advising website, Wical said.

First-year student Caroline Bowersox used the chat feature to get help with a question she had about where to find pre-requisites for a course. Bowersox found that the online chat was best used for quick questions that would only take a few minutes to answer.

“If you were going to change your major or plan out what courses you should be taking, its definitely probably a better idea to do the Zoom appointment,” Bowersox said.

Fulton said she recognizes that the circumstances surrounding course registration this year are different.

“Usually the anxiety is course registration, whereas now there are much more anxieties in the bigger picture,” Fulton said. 

Wical echoed that sentiment. 

“We have all been adjusting to living and working in this virtual environment,” Wical said.

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