Upon admission to Austin College each student is assigned a faculty mentor, who serves as the student’s academic advisor and as the instructor for the student in the First Year Seminar course. The term mentor denotes a special student-faculty relationship where the established rapport should assist the student in adjusting academically to college life and in effectively using the resources of the institution. As part of the advising process, students meet regularly with their mentors to review career interests and aspirations and steps for achieving these goals. Such considerations become reflected in a student’s overall degree plan and in choices of a major and minor. The planning process of individual development continues through all the undergraduate years. Development may be sought through a variety of means: formal course work, existing programs or activities (whether on-campus or off-campus), and programs and activities initiated by students. Summer activities and experiences are relevant also. This collaboration of faculty mentor and student serves to maximize the opportunity afforded by an Austin College education.
Although faculty mentors frequently teach in fields different from their students’ majors, students usually choose to stay with their original mentor because of the unique relationship developed in the First Year Seminar. Students, however, have the option of changing mentors any time after the first term.