Academic Advising

Home / Academic Support Services / Academic Advising

Fostering Student Agency

Faculty are central to the system of academic support at Franklin & Marshall. One of our guiding principles is the belief that academic advising is a natural component and extension of classroom teaching. 

F&M’s faculty-based advising program blends practical and holistic advice to foster student agency in their college experience. We encourage students to reflect critically about their choices in order to find the academic program that best encourages their development. Faculty advisers are given extensive support and training resources so as to learn how to provide students with access to the tools they need to thrive.

Comp Sci Advising and Research

Year-by-Year Academic Advising

Your First Year

As a first-year student, you are at a crossroads moment of your life. This might be the first time you're living away from home, and processing this first step towards adulthood might be complex. In addition, you'll be adjusting to F&M, learning about the College's resources and networks and determining how to build the right education for you.

Your faculty adviser will support you in assimilating to F&M guided by a series of first-year milestones that will set you up for success. We value that each student has a diverse set of goals and experiences, so we expect that faculty advisers will adapt this guide to meet your individual needs.

Conversations to look forward to:

  • How are you adjusting to college life? 
  • How are you building and improving your academic skills? What support resources on campus can you take advantage of?
  • What challenges did you face this year? What went particularly well? What can you learn from the challenges as well as from the triumphs?
  • Which classes sparked your interest the most? Can you see pursuing another course in the same subject next year?
  • What kinds of leadership positions at the College can you imagine yourself in?
  • What kinds of programs/clubs/leadership opportunities would you want to create for yourself at the College if you could?

Your Second Year

Many second-year students focus on exploring several academic and life decisions. Your faculty adviser will support you in making these long-term decisions about major(s)/minor(s) declarations, study abroad and your desired levels of integration, leadership and involvement in the larger F&M community, and much more.

Conversations to look forward to:

  • What are you thinking you want to major in? Why is this subject most compelling to you? Where do you think that studying it might lead you?
  • Is there more than one subject that draws your attention for a potential major? If so, how might these subjects work together as a course of study going forward?
  • If you do not know what you would like to major in, think of the courses you have taken: what did you like most? Which skills did you most enjoy practicing?
  • Do you want to study abroad? Is there a language you wish to learn?
  • Is there a field of study you want to do special research in? A professor with whom you’d particularly like to work? 
  • What kinds of programs/clubs/leadership opportunities would you want to create for yourself at the College if you could?
  • What are you most excited to do during your next two years?

Your Third Year

You'll experience important changes in your third year, which provide many opportunities for academic and personal growth. For many students, this year provides increased opportunities for leadership and experiential learning. Your faculty adviser will guide you and help you prepare for study abroad experiences, faculty-student research, academic internships and co-curricular leadership experiences.

Conversations to look forward to:

  • Which classes do you still have left to complete in your major? 
  • Within the discipline of your major, what types of questions or problems do you most enjoy thinking/learning about? Why do you think these appeal to you?
  • Is an internship for credit something that you might want to consider?
  • What kinds of approaches and questions are you likely to explore in your capstone project? What is your plan to begin this work?
  • If you went abroad, what was the experience like for you? What did you learn that you can bring back and integrate into your studies at F&M?

Your Fourth Year

As a fourth-year student, you'll be balancing your senior capstones while increasing your focus on preparing for a meaningful life and productive career after graduation. Your faculty adviser will find that the fourth-year advising sessions are focused on providing closure to your individual graduation goals while supporting your goals for after graduation.

Conversations to look forward to:

  • How has your understanding and identity as a scholar in your major discipline shaped who you are?
  • As you think about life after college, what is important to you, and how will these things inform future decisions?
  • List several career options that you would consider. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? What do you need to figure out to select from among them?
  • What experiences contributed most to your growth at F&M?