How do I choose an advisor?

How can I find out who my advisor is?

Do I have to meet with my advisor?

How do I make an advising appointment?

What is the function of the catalog other than to determine my program and degree requirements and to find the course descriptions?

What should I do if I'm not doing well in my college biology class?

Who should I contact with questions about General Education?

Do Pre-Professional students have to have the Pre-Professional advisor as their academic advisor?

If I want to be a Physician Assistant (or have a career in the health profession) should I switch my major to Health Sciences?

Does the biology department offer credit for internships on voluntary mentoring?

What can I do with a Biology or Biotechnology degree? 

Should I major in biology if I want to go to medical (or another professional) school?

How can I get more information about the pre-medical or other pre-professional programs?

 



How do I choose an advisor?   

When you come to JMU you will be assigned a freshman or transfer advisor.  After one semester you will usually be assigned an academic advisor based in part on your career interests.  If you ever want to switch advisors simply go to the Biology office and ask for a different advisor.
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How can I find out who my advisor is?

You can find out who your advisor is using MyMadison.
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Do I have to meet with my advisor?

The only absolute requirements with respect to your BIO advisor is that you obtain signatures for course substitutions, certain drop/add actions, and your application for graduation.  However, you will gain more if you periodically make appointments and talk about courses that you want to take, career paths, and other aspects about your academic career.  Your advisor can help you avoid making academic mistakes but they can?t fix them after the fact - you are the person responsible for your academic career decisions.
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How do I make an advising appointment?

All biology professors have office hours so you can just stop in, or you can email or phone to make an appointment.  It will usually facilitate the process if you give a professor a list of several days and times that you can schedule an appointment in the initial e-mail.  That person will then let you know what will work best.   All contact information is on our website under "People".
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What is the function of the catalog other than to determine my program and degree requirements and to find the course descriptions? 

The University Catalog is your official contract with JMU.  There are many procedural details in the first fifty or so pages that can have a major impact if they end up pertaining to you.  Spend a half hour or so checking over the topics so that you know where to find them if you need them.  Remember, not being aware of these details will not make them go away.  Missing an important point can mean an extra semester or year in Harrisonburg.
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What should I do if I'm not doing well in my college biology class?

The first thing to do if your performance in any class is not up to your expectations is to make an appointment to discuss how you are doing with your instructor.  Question your preparation for the class and how much time you are investing in it.  Unless you are naturally brilliant and have a photographic memory, you will usually need to work very hard to do well in any college class.   If your preparation is adequate and you have been investing the necessary time, then the problem is possibly how you are spending that time and if so there are three ways to get help: 1) speak with your instructor, 2) speak with your advisor, or 3) check out at the resources available to you through Career and Academic Planning.
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Who should I contact with questions about General Education?

First, read about the requirements on the GenEd website.  If that does not answer your questions, contact your biology advisor.  If your advisor is not able to answer the question, contact the appropriate cluster coordinator.
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Do Pre-Professional students have to have the Pre-Professional advisor as their academic advisor?

No.  The pre-professional programs are not major or minors so you must have an academic advisor from your major.  The pre-professional advisors are there to assist you and the academic advisors.
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If I want to be a Physician Assistant (or have a career in the health profession) should I switch my major to Health Sciences?

We suggest that you choose a major that you enjoy the most, not the one that you think will get you into a particular professional program.  That way, you are more likely to do well, and it keeps more career doors open for you should you change your mind.
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Does the biology department offer credit for internships on voluntary mentoring?   

At the present, it is not possible to obtain academic credit for these experiences.  However, we encourage BIO majors to seek applied experience.  Not only does this enrich your resume, but it is also a good way to investigate career pathways. 
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What can I do with a Biology or Biotechnology degree?

Because these degrees allow you to develop problem solving, writing, and thinking skills, they will prepare you for a lot of careers in or out of biology.  To learn about careers in the various and diverse sub-fields of biology, see our Careers page. For a glance at what JMU graduates are presently doing with their biology degrees please look at the Alumni News page.  Career information and links to career pages are maintained at the JMU office of Career and Academic Planning.
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Should I major in biology if I want to go to medical (or another professional) school?

We suggest that you choose a major that you enjoy the most and not the one that you think will get you into medical school.  That way, you are more likely to do well, and it keeps more career doors open for you should you eventually decide that you don't want to go to medical school.
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How can I get more information about the pre-medical or other pre-professional programs?

See the links on the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services site or at the Interdisciplinary Programs / Pre-Professional health Programs website.
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