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megabee

Requesting a first year advisor?

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Hello all! I know from searching through the forums that it's typical to have your first year academic advisor assigned to you, and that this advisor isn't meant to be your final advisor by any means. However, my program gave me the option of requesting an advisor or having one assigned.

Is there a benefit to requesting someone I might want as an actual advisor to be my first year advisor? I'm slightly worried that starting our relationship mostly talking about courses/academics is going to put me in a position to be taken less seriously later on. However, there's so much "START EARLY" advice out there that I'm not certain if the benefits (early focus on cultivating thesis and publication ideas) outweigh the costs (being seen as coursework focused or not feeling allowed to discuss academics with my academic advisor).

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I don't think that there is any risk of being taken less seriously because you start out your first few conversations talking about logistics. I think this would be a good opportunity to get a feel for this potential advisor and see how you get along when the stakes are low, which is a net positive. You should -- at the same time -- also keep your options open and meet with other people. You never know how relationships develop; your potential advisor may not be available for some reason (illness, moving to another school) or just not a good match with your personality. Or, your interests may shift, etc. Take this as a positive starting point, but remember that it's just a first-year advising commitment at the moment on both your parts, so you don't need to worry about it overmuch. 

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Agree with fuzzy: if there's someone you would like to have as your dissertation advisor, it makes sense to request them now and see if they are available. 

 

Also, it's often beneficial for students to have multiple points of contacts within the faculty. Although I had a different "first year advisor" for courses and such, I always talked about courses each quarter with my research advisor too. 

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Many thanks to both of you for answering. Upon consideration, I realized that I will already have plenty of opportunity to interact with the potential advisor due to their role within the department and my subfield. I will instead use my first advisor assignment to cultivate a different contact.

On 6/14/2018 at 12:14 PM, fuzzylogician said:

Take this as a positive starting point, but remember that it's just a first-year advising commitment at the moment on both your parts, so you don't need to worry about it overmuch. 

This is much needed perspective, thank you. 

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