Academic Advising

1.10.0 – Overview

Academic advising enables students to build relationships with faculty members who assist them in actively planning and attaining their academic, career, and life goals. Each student has an Academic Advisor. Academic Advisors are community members who facilitate students’ progress towards graduation and career goals. Through this advisee-advisor relationship, students grow in their understanding of their interests and abilities by discussing academic, work, and service opportunities at Warren Wilson College.

Incoming students are assigned a first-year advisor or transfer advisor. Additionally, new students have a ‘web of influence’ that includes a first-year advisor, a first-year seminar instructor, a peer group leader, a work crew supervisor, and student life staff. These individuals each have a role in supporting, encouraging, and guiding students.

At the time of major declaration, students choose select faculty members in their chosen fields of study to serve as their advisors.

Students should take advantage of the opportunity afforded them through their relationship with their academic advisor. This faculty member is uniquely poised to be a student’s advocate, guide, and referral agent. Students are responsible for knowing and acting in accordance with college policies. Students are individually responsible for monitoring progress in satisfying the requirements for graduation established by the College in general and by the major department. An academic advisor can help students meet these responsibilities.

1.10.1 – Specialized Advising Areas – Pre-Law Advising

Pre-law advising offers guidance and specialized curriculum planning for future lawyers. Students who wish to prepare for the graduate study of law are best served by combining a liberal arts major with individualized help from a pre-law advisor and an organized program of study for the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test). Law schools and legal employers do not look for students with a specialized pre-law background. On the contrary, they recognize students who have broadly prepared themselves to think on their feet, read and understand challenging material in any discipline, and demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills. Particularly useful pre-law majors include English, Philosophy, and History and Political Science, but any challenging course of study can prepare a student for a career in the law.

A short list of courses that should be taken by all pre-law students includes PSC 431 Constitutional Law. Certain other Warren Wilson College courses may be particularly helpful for pre-law students, depending on the type of legal field they wish to enter. A pre-law advisor can provide students with lists of courses that provide useful backgrounds for legal careers that emphasize Social Justice, Environmental Law, Business Law, and Government and International Relations. – Pre-Medical and Pre-Allied Health Advising

  1. Faculty:
  2. Jeff Holmes,

This advising program works to shape a liberal arts curriculum specific to students’ individual goals that will enhance their chances for admission to and success in graduate medical programs. Although advisers concentrate on preparing students for the traditional health profession (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, chiropractic, and physician assistant), they also advise students interested in admission to alternate medicine programs. Students are encouraged to not simply take a “straight” pre-medicine series of courses, but to also identify and enhance, through internships, service, and work experience, the unique abilities and characteristics that particularly suit them for a career in health care.

Pre-Med and Pre-Allied Health Advising is not an academic major but a course of study that can be incorporated into any number of Warren Wilson degree-granting programs. Most medical schools require a minimum of one year of biology, two years of chemistry, and one year of physics. Many require additional science or math courses. Consequently, most pre-med or pre-allied students opt for a degree in either biology or chemistry, but students are encouraged to consider other majors. It is possible to major in a field outside of the sciences and many professional schools are impressed by candidates able to juggle the demands of these majors along with the laboratory science courses.

One of the most important questions applicants to any type of medical school have to answer is “Why do you want to be a doctor?” The work and service-learning components of the Warren Wilson Triad are well suited to discovering the answer to this question, and for this reason students are encouraged to devote as much planning to these aspects of their college experience as to their course loads. All types of medical schools are looking for candidates with demonstrated ability to solve problems, work under stress, deal with different personalities, work together in teams, and inspire confidence in others. The Work Programs can provide ample opportunity for students to cultivate these skills in themselves, and their crew supervisors are in a unique position to assess their strengths. A service-learning project can be a critical component of a student’s preparation for a career in healthcare. Students may elect to volunteer with a number of different hospitals, nursing homes, and health education or advocacy groups. This could be a way to learn more about the opportunities available and about the sort of health career that the student would enjoy. Many qualified applicants are rejected because they are unable to articulate a realistic understanding of medicine. The service project should be designed and executed in such a way that the student gains a realistic understanding of what it means to practice medicine.

Applying to any type of medical program involves dealing with deadlines and a significant amount of paperwork. The advisor, in conjunction with the Career Resource Center, assists the student with assembling this material in a timely manner, critiquing a personal statement, arranging for letters of reference, identifying sources of financial aid, and scheduling and preparing for the MCAT or other exams. – Pre-Peace Corps, International, and Non-Governmental Service Advising

  1. Faculty:
  2. Lucy Lawrence,

The College’s Mission Statement, Triad principle, traditions, and practices naturally prepare students for work, service, and leadership in the global environment of the 21st century. Students who wish to prepare for international or cross-cultural service work, such as Peace Corps, and/or graduate study can choose to tailor their academic major, service, and work crew experiences to be congruent with these interests and aspirations.

Students may do so by working with academic advisors and professors within the relevant academic majors and departments, taking full advantage of the Triad experience, participating in the Warren Wilson College International Program opportunities, and consulting with Career Services.

The Warren Wilson College undergraduate curriculum clearly lends itself to many different areas of focus for international service, employment, and/or graduate study. Some students may choose to focus in a geographical region, such as Africa, Asia, North America, Latin America, or Eastern Europe. Others may focus on a particular area of endeavor, including the following:

  1. Environment: forestry, environmental education, parks and wildlife
  2. Education: teaching English as a foreign language, secondary education (science and math), elementary education (teacher training)
  3. Community Development: community services, non-governmental organizational development, urban youth-at-risk, small business advising
  4. Agriculture: community extension, animal husbandry, agricultural extension
  5. Health: health extension, water sanitation
  6. Business: business management, advanced business development, entrepreneurship
  7. Peace and Social Justice: peace-making, conflict resolution, non-violent social change, and social/environmental justice
  8. International Social Work: public health, policy development and analysis, community development and planning, social and environmental advocacy

Warren Wilson College alumni have served with many NGOs (nongovernmental agencies) in the U.S. and abroad, including Peace Corps, the Mennonite Central Committee, AmeriCorps, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Green Corps, and Justice Corps. Students and alumni have served in many countries, including Tanzania, Bolivia, Ivory Coast, the Czech Republic, Mali, Indonesia, Thailand, Honduras, Mauritania, and Madagascar. Career Services can help students find a mentor with appropriate experience to advise them in their quest for meaningful international service, employment and/or graduate studies.

Please note that completion of this preparation does not guarantee acceptance into Peace Corps or other international or non-governmental agencies. Candidates must complete the appropriate application processes for specific agencies, which may include a medical examination and a security background check. Pre-Veterinary Medicine Advising

  1. Faculty:
  2. Robert A. Eckstein,

Veterinary medicine is one of the fastest growing professions in the country, and Warren Wilson College graduates have been very successful in gaining admission to schools of veterinary medicine. Students may fulfill the entrance requirements for veterinary schools by earning a B.S. degree in Biology or Chemistry. Veterinary schools expect applicants to have had experience in studying and caring for animals, and pre-vet students often work on the Farm crew, caring for and managing all aspects of the pig and cattle herds. The combination of a good academic background, Farm Crew experience, and the discipline from the Warren Wilson College Triad educational program benefit students in applying to veterinary medicine programs and in future professional work. An additional strength of pre-veterinary medicine advising at Warren Wilson College is that the pre-veterinary advisor is a licensed veterinarian with a Ph.D. in animal behavior.