Rare among university models across the country, UF Online students each have an assigned, personal UF academic advisor for their entire journey through graduation. From application to graduation, UF Online students receive individualized guidance from their personal advisor who offers one of the most valuable relationships they’ll develop throughout their academic journey. Working across and from within ten University of Florida academic colleges, these advisors form a unique team that focuses exclusively on the needs of Gators pursuing their bachelor’s via UF Online.
Meet Dylan King, a professional academic advisor for UF Online students enrolled in the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to learn about his professional journey and how he’s contributing to student success.
Dylan became an academic advisor with UF Online in July of 2017. He first embarked on his journey to becoming an advisor while he was still an undergraduate student, where he worked at various university offices and interacted with both students and parents. After graduating from Stetson University, he was admitted to the University of Florida to earn his master’s degree while working as a graduate assistant in advising and student services. “It was really all those extra experiences throughout school that brought me to advising and student services, and I just knew I wanted to work at a university with students,” Dylan said.
UF Online students in Biology, Geography, Geology, or Environmental Geosciences meet with Dylan each semester. “We have a low [student-to-advisor] ratio, and it makes it more personal,” he said. As an advisor, he helps students find ways to balance their workload, select courses each term, and ultimately stay on track to graduate. Students come to him with a variety of questions, like “does my schedule look okay, do I have time, or what classes to take,” he listed. “If something’s not going well, they should feel comfortable coming to me, and we talk about strategies to get back on track.”
Like all academic advisors supporting UF Online students, Dylan helps students utilize all the assets available to them at the University of Florida, no matter the distance. Dylan encourages students to take advantage of the many resources available to online students at UF, like the Career Connections Center, Disability Resource Center, experiential learning opportunities, additional certificates and minors, and conducting research with a faculty mentor via the Center for Undergraduate Research.
“The opportunities are always there. Reach out to me if you have more questions about how you can get involved, and I can connect with faculty who are willing to work with you, or get to know them better so you can work with them.”
While managing several responsibilities, Dylan’s favorite part of the job is hearing how students got to where they are now. “I feel like the stories that go along with their motive for coming to UF are usually very touching. I’ve almost had students moved to tears that they’re so grateful to do this, and those stories really stick with me,” he explained. Dylan notes that the flexibility of UF Online is one major reason students tell him they chose UF Online. “Some students are doing some really cool things in the world, and they’re able to do them and not live in Florida but still get a UF degree because of UF Online,” he said. Many students continue to reach out to Dylan after graduation to update him on all the “cool things they’re doing.” The UF academic advisor and student relationship is a valuable component afforded to each of our #GatorsOnline.
Dylan continues to look forward to connecting with more students and finding new ways to help each one meet their individual goals.