After deciding which flight school to attend, the next step to becoming a pilot is to get admitted to the school. At smaller schools, this process may be as simple as signing a couple of forms and making an initial payment.
When I decided to attend EMU, the Office of Admissions there refused to review my application. Surprise! If I had given up, or if I had only followed the advice I was given, I would not have been admitted. This is an example of perseverance being a necessity in flight training.
I hope my story and advice can help inspire future pilots to overcome the little obstacles that arise in training.
What I did was to set aside time during my private pilot studies to repeatedly call and write several people who were supposed to coordinate the processing of my application materials. I found out why my application had fallen through the cracks and who held the authority to correct the problem. With that information, I was able to get the right people to review my application before the fall term started, and I was admitted right away. From application to admission and registration, the process took about eight weeks.
Here are some of the main tasks in the admission process for a new flight student:
- Academic application forms.
- Housing application forms.
- Flight application forms.
- Independent drug test.
- Flight medical exam.
Academic advisers are a great resource for new students, in general. They help explain how to register for classes, how to meet the General Education Requirements, and how to transfer credit between institutions. They can answer very general, common questions about college, and help to solve problems.
It is important to realize, however, that there is more than one variety of adviser, and the general academic adviser tends to be the least resourceful.
Here are some valuable warnings about what not to expect from an academic adviser:
- Academic advisers don’t possess knowledge of your field of study. If you are declaring a major concentration and need advice about what to do, the general advising office is the wrong place to get advice. Instead, you need to visit the department for the major concentration and meet with someone who works specifically in that field of study. They will gladly answer your questions.
- Academic advisers don’t know which classes you need to take. They only know which classes are available. If you show up with registration questions, an academic adviser is going to ask you first which classes you need to take. Think of it as your responsibility to show up already prepared to register for classes before meeting with an adviser.
- Academic advisers won’t promote other colleges. They are highly biased toward their own institutions. On my own initiative, I learned that there are enormous advantages to transferring credit instead of taking all of the classes at the same place.
- Academic advisers don’t coordinate with other offices. Get a hard copy of everything you work on at the advising offices, and fully expect you will be required to produce that paperwork before you graduate. I encountered that situation myself, and I felt lucky that several people had warned me about this unwritten rule.
New flight students need to do four things:
- Meet with a flight school adviser.
- Meet with an aviation department adviser (sometimes separate from the flight school).
- Meet with an academic adviser.
- At least twice every year, review your plans with an aviation department adviser.
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