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First Year Advising

First Year Advising - Florida Gulf Coast University

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First Year Advising
Admitted Students
Enrolled Students
Transitioning Students
Parents and Guests

FGCU Main Campus
McTarnaghan Hall Suite 229

Mailing Address
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Boulevard South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(800) 590-3428(FGCU)

Main Office
McTarnaghan Hall 229
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00AM-5:00PM
(239) 590-7875
(239) 590-7862 {fax}

South Village Office
Eagle Hall 4001 (4th floor)
Hours: Mon-Thur 8 AM - 7 PM &
  Fri 8 AM - 5 PM
(239) 745-4300
(239) 745-4336 {fax}

Contact Email
*email response time may be up to 1-2 business days.



Tips for Freshman Students

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Preparing for the First Day of Classes
  1. Print out a copy of your course schedule (from Gulfline) so you know when and where your classes meet. 
  2. Be sure you know the name of each building and its location on campus.  Refer to FGCU campus map for assistance.
  3. Take some time before the semester begins to find each building, and walk from one building to the next so you know how long it takes you to get from one location to the next and you can find the most efficient route.  
  4. Know the name and course number (e.g.: ENC 1101), and Course Registration Number (CRN) for each of your courses.  It is also important to know the instructor's name, so you can be certain you are attending the correct section of the course.  
  5. Your name is optional, but your university identification number (UIN) is not; it is what identifies you as a student at FGCU, so know your UIN!   
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Some Tips for How to Act in the Classroom
  1. Get to class early if you can.  If the class is being held in a larger auditorium, sit toward the front of the room and in a location where you can see and hear everything clearly – if you sit toward the back of the room, it is easy to be distracted by your classmates. 
  2. If you must arrive late (because you are coming from another class, for example), come in quietly and sit in a location where you will cause the least distraction.   
  3. Silence your cell phone and put it away, so you can pay full attention to the instructor.     
  4. Be organized.  Know what you need (notebook, pen, textbook, etc.) and have it ready to go before the lecture starts. 
  5. Be respectful of the instructor and your classmates.  Things like texting, talking to your neighbor, snapping gum, unwrapping candy, and clicking your pen are very distracting to those around you.  
  6. Be an active listener.  Maintain frequent eye contact with the professor, smile and nod your understanding, and sit in a way that shows you are paying attention.  Attentiveness projects a favorable impression, and you will find that paying attention to facial expressions and gestures can help you absorb the material better. 
  7. Don't be shy about asking questions that will help you understand what is being taught.  New college students often think that asking questions will make them look stupid, or they are afraid that they will be wasting the valuable time of the instructor by having them go over information a second time, but keep in mind that if YOU are confused about a concept...odd are that other students in the class are confused too!  
  8. If the professor doesn’t leave time for questions during class (or you are uncomfortable asking questions in class), take advantage of her or his office hours.  Every professor is required to have time set aside each week for you to visit with him or her to get the assistance you need to be successful in the course, so take advantage of that!     
  9. A good professor will let you ask questions.  A better professor will ask you questions to see if you’re absorbing the material and to help you make connections among concepts.  Take advantage of that opportunity and try to answer the questions.  Be sure to follow the appropriate protocol – don’t shout out answers if a show of hands is asked for or if the teacher has called on someone else...but do try to answer the question in your head if that’s the case.
  10. Unless the teacher is late ending class and your next class is across campus, don’t pack up your stuff and leave before you’re dismissed.  It’s rude and disruptive.  If you have a teacher who always seems to finish class a few minutes late, be sure to share with her or him that you need to leave right at the end of class, and try to step out of the room quietly.
  11. Introduce yourself to the students who sit next to you.  Get the name, phone number and/or e-mail address of at least one other person in the class – someone you’d feel comfortable contacting for information from missed classes.  As you get to know these indivduals better, consider forming a study group with them to regularly review information and prepare for quizzes and exams!  
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How to Take Full Advantage of a Professor's Office Hours
  1. Office hours are arguably the most underused tool available to students.  This is your chance to get to know the professor a bit better, to ask questions you’re too shy to ask in class, and to get help with assignments and exam preparation. 
  2. It would be a good strategy to visit each of your instructors during the first few weeks of classes.  This will help you feel more comfortable answering (and asking) questions in class, and make it much easier asking for help later in the semester if you need the assistance.
  3. Although professors are expected to be available to meet with students during office hours, other important events (faculty meetings, conference travel) may sometimes come up.  It’s not required, but it never hurts to ask your professors if they are going to be in the office, which will make them aware that you will be stopping by.  
  4. Before you visit with an instructor, it’s a good idea to write down the questions you have (about the syllabus, about recommended ways to study, about “tips” for success in the course) so you are fully prepared and make the best use of their time.    
  5. Instructors typically teach three or four courses each semester, so be sure you clarify who you are, the course (and section, if appropriate) you’re in and why you’re there.  “Hi, I’m Joanie Smith from your Tuesday morning Women’s Lit class; I have a question about next week’s exam” is a good start!
  6. You do not need to apologize for being there or that you are taking up their time with your questions; that's exactly what you should be doing in order to be successful in their course!  You should, however, be sure to thank the professor for her or his time when you’re done.
  7. If you are visiting an instructor to discuss a poor exam grade, focus on understanding why you made the mistakes you made and how you can change your approach to the course (taking better notes, understanding the text(s), improving study techniques) to improve your performance the next time.  
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Questions You Should NEVER Ask a Professor
  1. Do I need to read the textbook?  If an instructor has assigned a text for the course, always assume the reading is essential to your learning, and that the material from the text is as important as the lectures.   
  2. Do I need to know this for the test?  Everything that is discussed in class (or assigned outside of class) can appear on an exam.  A better question to ask might be: How can I figure out what is more important to study...and what is less essential?  
  3. What's going to be on the test?  Assume that everything that has been discussed will be on the test and prepare accordingly.  In some cases, instructors will create a study guide to help you focus on key topics; if a study guide is not provided, however, create one yourself...and share it with your instructor to ensure you are covering the right material as you prepare.  
  4. Any question that can be answered by reading the course syllabus: What is our assignment for next time?  When is that paper due?  What happens if I turn it in late?  Can I do anything to get extra credit?  Is it OK if I miss class?  
  5. Have you graded the exam/paper yet?  Knowing that your instructors typically teach three or four courses each semester, give them a minimum of ten days to grade your assignments, papers, and exams.  If your score isn't returned to you (or posted to Canvas) after a few weeks, ask politely about when you might be receiving your grade.   
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Handling Course Assignments
    Do the assignments that the instructor has assigned on the syllabus.  Even when they are not graded assignments, do them anway as a part of your regular, daily study routine.    
  2. Know, understand, and follow the directions for each assignment.  If your professor provides written instructions, refer to them frequently and check the completed assignment against the instructions before you turn it in.  If your professor provides oral instructions, be sure to write them down and get clarification if needed.   
  3. Identify your work.  Make sure you include your name, the date of the assignment, the course name and number, and the professor’s name in a prominent location on the first page of the assignment.
  4. Turn every assignment in on time.  You should actually try to complete assignments the day before they are due...just in case an emergency arises and you need a friend or classmate to turn something in on your behalf.    
  5. If you have a legitimate emergency (a car accident or a death in the family) that will prevent you from meeting the deadline for an assignment, contact the instructor as soon as possible to explain the situation and find out what, if anything, you can do to receive credit for the assignment.   
  6. Be sure to get the assignment back from the instructor if you miss class, and examine it carefully to find out where you made your mistakes and how you can improve the quality of your work.  If you don’t understand something, be sure to visit your instructor during office hours!
  7. Be sure you understand your score or grade on each assignment.  When done properly, asking for an explanation of why an answer is incorrect (or where you made your mistake) is an important thing to do to avoid making the same mistake on the next assignment, and if the instructor did make an error in grading your work, this can be corrected.   
  8. Proactively use the academic support resources in FGCU's Center for Academic Achievement and the Writing Center if you need additional assistance with your study skills or writing style.  
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Using Technology in Your Courses
  1. While working on assignments, save your work regularly, save your work in multiple places (on your hard drive and on a flash drive), and even print a hard copy just to be safe!
  2. Be sure to purchase whatever software is supported by the university and learn how to use it by taking advantage of whatever opportunities are provided each semester (courses, workshops, tutorials, etc.) for ongoing training and support.
  3. Before you spend too much time creating fancy cover sheets and elegant formatting, check the guidelines for the assignment that have been provided by the instructor.  Will you be submitting a hard copy of the paper or turning it in electronically (via Canvas or email)?  Is a cover page expected?  What font and style can be used?  Should you double space or single space?  What sort of margins must be used?  If you cannot find the answers to these questions on your syllabus, be sure to ask for clarification.   
  4. If you need to submit assignments electronically, be sure you understand what word processing program(s) can be used and how the document must be saved and submitted – these things are specificed by the instructor in Canvas, and documents that are saved improperly will not be accessible by the professor. 
  5. Build in time to allow for glitches.  Submit (or print) assignments 24 hours before they’re due rather than immediately before class, so you’ll have time to deal with any technical problems and still get your work turned in on time.
  6. If you don't own your own computer, there are several computer labs on FGCU's campus for open student use.  
  7. If you are having problems with your computer or have a question about technology on campus, contact the BTS Help Desk at (239)590-1188 or via email at, and visit the FGCU Business Technology Services Student FAQ's
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Staying Organized
  1. Now that you are responsible for keeping track of your academic and personal obligations, using a calendar is essential! Regardless of the type you use, be sure to write down assignments and test dates when you receive your syllabi and use it to keep track of meetings, appointments, and your extracurricular involvements.   
  2. Everyone has their own way of organizing course materials.  Whether you use file folders or binders, loose-leaf paper or spiral notebooks, try to keep all the materials from each course together.  Color coding or some other visual cue to content can be helpful. 
  3. Keep course materials as long as possible.  At a minimum, keep them around for a year (the usual statute of limitations for grade appeals).  Longer is better, especially for materials in your academic major that may be useful when taking courses in future semesters.  
  4. Free Student Success workshops are offered by the Center for Academic Achievement and include great sessions on organization, time management, note taking, and goal setting!
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The Power of the Internet
  1. Get familiar with FGCU's website.  Students are expected to use the university website to monitor their academic progress, register for classes, approve financial aid, pay fines, search the library catalog, get e-mail from faculty members, and many other important things. Spend some quality time surfing through the university website and bookmark essential sites (Student Services, the Registrar, Financial Aid, student organizations, etc.).
  2. Information literacy and discernment is an important tool for any college web surfer.  Anyone can create web pages and post anything they want on the web.  Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s true, relevant, or legitimate to use in your latest term paper.  
  3. Learn to evaluate web sites with the same care you evaluate other information sources and avoid the pitfall of thinking that the web is a legitimate substitute for the campus library.  The FGCU Main Library uses web-based research tools and offers a variety of ways for you to learn how to use them.  Take advantage of this resource!
  4. Remember that campus computer networks, like any other computer networks, sometimes crash. Don't wait until the last minute to complete that online research or to submit your assignment on Canvas...
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Important Materials - The University Catalog

The university catalog is your contract with the university.  It includes all of the rules, policies, procedures, and academic requirements that govern your behavior, both inside and outside of the classroom.  Be sure you know where to find the university catalog on the FGCU website and familiarize yourself with what is covered.  The university catalog from the year you are admitted should be the one that really matters, but administrative regulations are not catalog specific and may change at any time.  Read the catalog through once just to get familiar with the organization.  Review the relevant parts before each advising appointment and ask your advisor for clarification on the parts you don’t understand.

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Important Materials - Your Course Syllabus

Instructors for each course you take are required to provide a course syllabus, which is your contract with your instructor for the semester.  It should contain contact information for the instructor, the location and time of office hours, information about any required and supplemental textbooks, administrative policies for the course (attendance, late work, participation, etc.), and a schedule of course topics and assignments, as well as quizzes and examinations.  If this information is not in the syllabus, be sure to get clarification from your instructor.  You should review the syllabus thoroughly before the second class meeting and note important deadlines in your personal calendar.  Do not hesitate to get clarification from the professor on confusing or complex points.  Keep the syllabus with your course materials and consult it regularly.

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Advising at FGCU
  1. Be sure you know where you should go to receive academic advising and the best way to make appointments to see an advisor at the university.  Basic contact information for academic advisors at FGCU can be found here.   
  2. Academic advisors can be an vital resource for you throughout your college career. They can help you understand degree requirements, familiarize you with academic policies, and help ensure that you’re taking the courses you need to complete your degree.  Advisors are great people to talk to about special programs and opportunities that may be available to you if you’re doing well and provide support (and identify places to go for help) if you’re having problems.
  3. Academic advisors can also help you with career planning and the process of preparing for the world of work after you obtain your degree.    
  4. You should meet with an academic advisor every semester, even though it may not be required.  Having a good relationship with your academic advisor can be a very good thing; they know how to address many common situations that students need to work through, and can support petitions, write letters of support, and provide recommendations for graduate or professional school.   
  5. Do your homework before you show up for an academic advising appointment.  Bring a copy of your degree audit that includes the courses you’re taking that semester, and make a list of any questions you have about your degree requirements, what courses to take next semester, your academic progress, picking a major, or getting prepared for a future career.  Preparing for an advising appointment will allow you to make full use of your time!    
  6. Ultimately, it's your choice whether you follow the recommendations of your advisor. If you decide to follow the advice of a friend, roommate, or family member instead, this can have serious consequences in the future...
  7. If you feel that your advisor is not providing you with the support, mentoring, or information you need, you can bring this to the attention of her or his supervisor...and see if another advisor can be assigned.   
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Taking Care of Yourself
  1. You know all that stuff your parents have been telling you all these years about eating right, getting plenty of rest, and getting some exercise? Well, they were right. If you hope to survive long enough to get your degree and find a great job after you graduate, you have to pay attention to your personal wellness.
  2. Just because your roommate seems to function well on two hours of sleep per night doesn’t mean you can.  Know your body well enough to know how much sleep you need to be able to pay attention in class and get your work done each day without getting sick, and how much you can sacrifice in the short term when you have exams to study for and lots of other assignments to get done.
  3. Pay attention to your own natural activity patterns.  Are you a morning person or a night owl?  Do you like to work out in the morning to energize yourself, or do you prefer to do it later in the day to de-stress?  Know what works best for you and create an activity schedule that fits your lifestyle.
  4. Just because your new friends seem to thrive on a diet of caffeine and junk food doesn’t mean you can.  It's easy to put on weight when you start college and aren't doing all of the activities you were doing that filled your days in high school, so do your best to eat healthy.  
  5. Force yourself to find something to do every week that elevates your heart rate.  A regular exercise routine will relieve stress, improve your focus and concentration, and keep you looking and feeling good!
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Staying Safe...on and off Campus
  1. Althought it's easy to feel this way, no environment is completely free of crime.  Each semester, thefts are reported, students are assaulted, and other crimes do occur.  It's important that you are aware of the risks that come with being on a college campus and that you take steps to minimze those risks.  
  2. Staying safe often boils down to common sense: protect your belongings by locking your residence hall room and your car, even if you will be right back.  Don't walk alone at night; use well-lit common areas and help each other get to where you need to go.  If someone has too much to drink, take extra care in helping him or her get home safely.  
  3. Remember that women are in more danger from people they know than from strangers – so take the precautions you already know about to avoid date rape and similar kinds of assaults.  Participate in a basic self defense course faciliated by the University Police Department and practice the skills you’ve learned.
  4. If something happens to you or to someone you know, know how to report it and to whom. Take advantage of all available resources to assist in the recovery process and try to give yourself the gift of patience with the process.
  5. Sexual harassment is less of a problem than it once was, but certainly hasn’t been eliminated.  FGCU has published policies on what constitutes sexual harassment and sexual misconduct and how to deal with it.  If you feel you’ve been harassed by anyone on campus or feel you are being discriminated against on the basis of your sex, you may want to start by discussing the situation with the Title IX Coordinator on the FGCU campus.
  6. You have no doubt heard quite a bit about the issues of binge drinking, drug use, and eating disorders among college students. Unfortunately, what you’ve heard is probably true, so think carefully about the choices that you make and their possible consequences.  
  7. If you or someone you know is in trouble, find the strength to reach out for help.  There are many different offices and services that exist on the FGCU campus to support you, including Student Health Services, Prevention and Wellness, Counseling & Psychological Services, and the Dean of Students Office.