As part of your University of Melbourne student experience, in your first year of study you will be matched with an academic adviser. Your academic adviser will take an active interest in your wellbeing, progress and success throughout your degree.
What is academic advising?
Navigating the opportunities and challenges of university can be a lot to think about. Advising meetings are a space for you to think, share ideas, talk about your goals and explore opportunities with an academic member of our University community.
Your adviser can also help you connect with our vibrant, diverse and inclusive community outside of the classroom and make the most of your time at University.
What are the benefits of having an academic adviser?
Your academic adviser will be an academic member of staff such as a lecturer or a professor who will help you adjust to study and life at University, and then assist you in navigating your way through your whole student journey. Your academic adviser will take an active interest in your progress, success and challenges. Using their extensive networks, they can help you to connect with your faculty and the broader University community, as well as external professionals and industry representatives.
When will I hear more about my adviser?
Students will be matched with an academic adviser in the first year of their degree. For most students this will be in the second semester. For some students who have already commenced university study, either here or at another university, you might be introduced to your adviser in the first semester of your current degree (regardless of how much study you may have already completed).
Early in semester you will find out about your adviser. You’ll receive an email and an my.uniLife notification letting you know who your adviser is, and when your group meeting is taking place. There’ll be a link for you to read more about your adviser on their Find an Expert profile.
It is good to prepare for your advising meeting. You’ll be asked to reflect on and respond to three questions about your journey to University and your experience so far. Preparing for your advising meeting can help you think about topics you would like to discuss with your adviser.
Note: Each degree has its own advising program, and some students will enter academic advising in their first semester. You’ll be contacted by your Student Life team if this applies to you.
Who is my academic adviser?
Your academic adviser will be an academic member of staff such as lecturer or professor with experience in teaching and undertaking world-class research in their field.
You will receive a notification about your academic adviser via the my.uniLife app, which will include information about their field of expertise and their role at the University.
Early in your second semester of study you will receive a notification about your academic adviser via the my.uniLife app, which will include information about their field of expertise and their role at the University.
What kind of support can my academic adviser give me?
- Academic advisers come from a discipline broadly aligned to your studies and will help you explore opportunities to build on your interests and strengths. If you do have a specific area of interest, they may be able to connect you with other academic staff or suggest ways that you can make these connections for yourself.
- Academic advisers are not experts in everything, but they can help you identify when you may benefit from seeking specialist support and advice.
- Meetings with your academic adviser are designed to support your growth and development, so you can discuss a range of goals and challenges with your adviser. There is a limit to the confidentiality of advising meetings, and there may be some cases when an adviser needs to disclose information to help you access support.
- Academic advisers can help you with general advice on study skills and routines that support your academic success, however it is not their role to tutor you or review specific pieces of academic work. Academic support services are available, and your academic adviser may encourage you to access this support.
How can I get the most out of having an academic adviser?
Arriving to your academic advising meetings prepared can help you get the most out of the conversation and build a meaningful relationship with your academic adviser.
Before each meeting, you’ll be asked to do some preparation that will prompt you to reflect on your journey thus far and outline your future goals and plans.
When, where and how will I meet my academic adviser?
Your first meeting with your academic adviser will be in the first year of your studies – this will be held on campus or online, as a group meeting with other students.
After this, you will have a one-on-one meeting for the next three semesters. Meetings will be scheduled for you, taking your timetable into account. All details can be found via the my.uniLife app.
Frequently asked questions
How will I be matched with my academic adviser?
Academic advising is tied to each undergraduate degree program, so your academic adviser will have a broad disciplinary alignment to your course. Academic advisers come from a range of divisions, including graduate schools and research institutes. Your faculty will take care of the matching process for you and provide information via email and the my.uniLife app.
How long will I have my academic adviser for?
You will be matched with your academic adviser in your first year and will continue to meet with them in the second and third year of your degree. In some specific circumstances your academic adviser may change, in which case you will be notified as soon as possible via the app and email with details of your new academic adviser.
What will we talk about?
Conversations will be guided by you, but may focus on:
- Getting to know each other
- How you are adjusting to University of Melbourne life
- How to make the most out of your university experience and the opportunities at Melbourne beyond the classroom
- University services that can provide academic and personal support
- General study planning and tips, academic progress and goals
- Professional goals, capstone and subject options, career readiness.
Before each meeting you will be asked to do some preparation, which will also help to guide your conversations.
What if I am running late or cannot make it to a meeting?
It is an expectation that you will attend your academic advising meetings. Academic advisers have a lot of professional responsibilities, so it is important to make every effort to attend your meeting and be on time. In the event that unforeseen circumstances prevent you from attending or being on time, let the Student Life team know by submitting an enquiry through the my.uniLife app.
Will an academic adviser help me to get better grades?
An academic adviser is not there to teach or tutor you, but to provide general guidance and support. They will share their knowledge and experience about university and professional life, with tips about techniques or support services. This sort of advice can lead to better grades – there can be a relationship between feeling connected and getting support with academic performance – but academic advising is not related to subject or course content.
I have never met with an academic outside of the classroom before – what if I feel nervous?
It’s natural to feel a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time. Academic advisers are excited to work with you, to help you to feel connected and supported through your degree. They have all been students, just like you, and have navigated some of the challenges of the university environment. While the classroom is central to your experience at Melbourne, meeting an academic outside of this setting is a great opportunity to learn from them beyond the academic content, and for you to share your own experiences and knowledge with them.
Can I stay in touch with my academic adviser after the program finishes?
You’ll meet regularly with your academic adviser in the first, second and third year of your degree. If you establish a good rapport with your adviser, you are welcome to stay in contact with them after your meetings are completed, or even after you graduate. Sending your adviser an email once or twice a year to let them know how you are going is a nice way to keep in touch. If you would like to meet with your adviser after your advising meetings have concluded, treat this like a request to meet with any academic or professional contact. Be courteous, explain why you would like to meet, and request a meeting at their convenience. Many academics have set times that they can meet with students, and these can get very busy in the lead up to exams. Your academic adviser will do their best to arrange a time to see you.
What if my adviser is running late or I’m having technical problems?
Will my academic adviser record notes about our meetings?
Advisers may choose to take brief notes about your meetings, to help them remember key topics discussed. Only your adviser can see notes they take about your meetings and any notes taken will not be connected to your student record.