The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Academic and Career Development Center (ACDC) helps students determine what field of study will help them achieve their career goals.
Staff, faculty and peer advisors meet with students who are unsure of what academic path they want to follow. Advising appointments can be made online, through email and with a phone call. Advising holds are placed on student accounts each semester to ensure students enroll in the right classes.
Samantha Kaiser, the assistant director of academic advising in ACDC, meets with undeclared students.
“What I like to remind students is: we are all a work in progress. I don’t have a crystal ball that will tell you what to do,” Kaiser said. “What we can do at ACDC is ask intentional questions. Often, students get their “aha” moments from us asking them questions they’ve never been asked before.”
It is common for students to be unsure of what to study and explore different majors, said Sarah Preston, a graduate student who works as an advisor.
“I changed my major unofficially six times,” Preston said. “If I could go back and tell myself as a student one thing it would be to take advantage of the resources. Advising, class and experience shape you and shape your career.”
Students need to be aware of the exploratory work they have to put in, Kaiser said. They need to come to advising appointments, look at the ACDC website, books and quizzes to learn about themselves.
“I would encourage students to at least try advising. The worst that can happen is you leave thinking ‘I don’t know,’” Kaiser said. “Really challenge yourself to take one good thing away from an appointment. We have a wealth of information. I am going to tell you new things that you’ve probably never heard before.”
The two main reasons students should take advantage of advising appointments are: to make sure they are on track for graduation and to connect with the university in a different way, Kaiser said.
“Advisors are trained to know different opportunities on campus,” Kaiser said. “We keep our ears open, and we like when we can give a student an opportunity to partner with an employer.”
Academic talk often branches into career talk, Kaiser explained. ACDC has connections to many
local and on-campus jobs, so talking to an ACDC advisor about academics could lead to a part-time job or internship.
UNO also has Career Connect, a job board with Omaha and regional jobs listed for students and alumni. On-campus employment is posted on the campus HR website.
“It’s a very fluid conversation,” Kaiser said. “That’s what makes our office so cool. Majors and careers work together.”
Advising appointments make people better students and better employees, Preston said. It allows staff to determine students’ strengths and goals, but it may take more than one advising session to decide what career path to follow.
“I like to remind students that we all don’t know what we want to be when we grow up, and that’s okay,” Kaiser said. “It may be frustrating sometimes, but it’s wonderful too because you’re always exploring. Every little step will get you further.”