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English Department Advising Syllabus


Department of English

The College of New Jersey

Academic Advising Syllabus


The responsibilities of your faculty adviser:

  • To help you plan your program of study
  • To listen to your academic concerns and needs
  • To be available to you and take an interest in your welfare
  • To refer you to appropriate resources elsewhere on campus or beyond for guidance on academic and career matters
  • To help you make informed decisions, negotiate difficulties, and take ownership of your education by learning from the consequences of your actions and choices

Your responsibilities as the advisee:

  • To be an active participant in establishing goals for as well as planning and implementing your education
  • To develop a program plan with liberal arts breadth and depth that may change over time as you discover new interests and passions, but still leads to graduation in a timely manner
  • To develop resourcefulness by seeking out, identifying, and appropriately using resources beyond your adviser for guidance on academic and career matters
  • To assume ownership of your education by learning to make informed choices and take responsibility for your decisions

Schedule of meeting times:

  • Pre-registration in the fall to discuss your goals for the semester ahead and course options for the spring semester;
  • Pre-registration in the spring to discuss your goals for the summer and semester ahead, and course options for the fall semester; and
  • Other times you wish to consult with your faculty adviser. Please see his or her scheduled office hours or make an appointment, so your adviser can be sure to set aside time for you (unless it’s a question you think her or she can answer quickly). You may also email your adviser; your adviser will expect that you check your TCNJ email at least once a day. (Other faculty and offices on campus will also expect this.)

Preparing for appointments:

Anytime you meet with your adviser come prepared–after all, this is your education. He or she will expect you to come with an agenda (things you want to discuss) and to take notes. You should also research your options in advance, so you and your adviser can discuss these (and

other options that he or she may suggest). In the case of registration, you should come with your four-year plan (see below) and a list of four top course choices and at least four alternatives; you should have all of these courses in your PAWS “shopping cart”; and you should have checked PAWS for possible errors.


PAWS. You should be able to view your schedule, registration information, academic requirements for graduation, grades, and transfer information (if applicable). You should know how to use the “My Planner” feature. You should put your top course choices and all your alternatives in your shopping cart before we meet to discuss registration.

English Department (with liberal learning information and links to other resources): Literary History and Liberal Learning Designations for English

Humanities and Social Sciences (with liberal learning information and links to other resources):

TCNJ Undergraduate Bulletin:

Academic Integrity Policy:

Office of Differing Abilities Services:

The Career Center:

Study Abroad Programs:

Goals for the first year:

  • You should know how to use the various features of PAWS (see above).
  • You should be familiar with the requirements for graduation and for each major, minor, and interdisciplinary concentration you may be considering. You should be familiar with your liberal learning options (second major, interdisciplinary concentration, or breadth distribution “checklist”).
  • You should register for courses in a manner that keeps open different possible majors, liberal learning options, and/or minors that you may be considering.
  • You should know the drop/add days and how to drop or add a course.
  • You should fulfill all noncredit requirements for graduation (e.g., community engaged learning and library requirements).
  • You should write a tentative four-year plan so you can see your options for each major, minor, and interdisciplinary concentration you may be considering. (If a semester or summer is not available in PAWS, use the course lists on the department website to see which English courses are typically offered in that semester or summer.) You should consider the knowledge and skills you wish to develop while at TCNJ, and work these into your four-year plan.
  • You should consider a semester of off-campus study as part of your plan and determine how you might fit that into your four-year plan.
  • You should be able to articulate what your next summer could look like. What experiences do you want to have? What can you do to gain experience that builds on your interests?
  • You should get to know at least one faculty member well each semester (including talking to them outside of class). You’ll learn a lot, and they may eventually serve as references for you. (Do not count on getting a reference from a faculty member with whom you have never spoken.)
  • You should realize that your academics, social life, and extracurricular activities may be very different in your second year. For example, academic rigor will increase, making good study habits even more important.
  • You should consider not only career options for each major but also what post-undergraduate preparation each career option might entail (for instance, teaching certification for K-12 public school teaching, or a doctorate for full-time college/university teaching). Make every effort to talk to people currently working in the careers you are considering and to people currently in graduate school if you think graduate school is in your future.

Goals for the second year:

  • Revise your four-year plan.
  • Attend informational meetings about any experiences that interest you, such as internships and studying abroad.

Goals for the third year:

  • Revise your resume.
  • Learn what the Career Center has to offer you.
  • Determine when you will take the Praxis, GRE, LSAT, or MCAT (if relevant).

Goals for the fourth year:

  • Plan for your transition to life after graduation.
  • Schedule the Praxis, GRE, LSAT, or MCAT (if relevant).

Goals for students transferring with an associate’s degree:

See the goals for the first and second years. You have special challenges: adjusting to a new school (which includes changes in your academics, social life, and extracurricular activities) while taking junior- and senior-level courses in your major(s). (Students who are at TCNJ for all four years have the option of spreading out their lower-level and liberal learning courses so they don’t need to take four upper-level reading- and writing-intensive courses in one semester.) If you have been working in addition to taking classes, you should consider reducing the number of hours you work until you have determined the new expectations. In addition, you are a junior according to the number of credits you have, but a sophomore in terms of meeting your course requirements; to complete both an education and an academic major, for instance, nearly always takes three years. To make the most out of your education at TCNJ, it is essential for you to plan carefully from the start; your adviser will be happy to help, but please also consult all other available resources as soon as possible.