How many times have you heard student’s complaints about being given incorrect information during advising? Or quite possibly you have been a victim of this circumstance yourself? Or, how about being told to take a class that you have already taken or being advised to take two classes in the same semester that you cannot due to prerequisite requirements?
Whatever your story is, the problem is the same: inadequate or confusing advisement.
For most students, the advisor is our collegiate guru, so the responsibilities of the advisor should be plain and simple. They should assist students with a plan of study that will satisfy the desired degree requirement and academic goals, review the progress of these goals, evaluate grade point averages, have the ability to refer students to resources on campus if needed and keep students apprised of their responsibilities.
So why is it that so many students speak about how advising has fallen short on these responsibilities?
One of the biggest issues is that advisors are stretched too thin. They are expected to teach an abundance of classes, which involves much more then just lecturing, and must also set aside hours during the week to be advisors.
This brings me to the next problem, advising hours. Most advisors offer one hour, two days a week with anywhere from 10 to 20 students trying to be seen. If you do the math, 60 minutes of advising, with 20 students, only allows each student three minutes. Say only 10 students are waiting, that still only allows six minutes per student. You don’t have to be a math major to recognize that this is not enough time. Besides, how many students have you witnessed leaving their advisors office in three minutes or less?
Furthermore, those of us that are considerate of others, have that nagging thought in the back of our minds that there are others waiting patiently to be seen. So many times we do not feel comfortable asking all of the questions that we need to.
Lastly, it seems that if you have to see a different advisor, you get a story about your curriculum. Such as finding out you have to take two similar courses instead of one or the other.
On the other side of the argument, I know there are students who have no complaints about advising. They have been led down the right path with no trouble whatsoever. They were lucky!
For those who were not so lucky, it’s disheartening. College is expensive and time-consuming. Most of us have the same goal in mind, to be able to graduate as planned with our friends and start our working lives. When we are misinformed it sets us back. Our university has a responsibility to provide us with adequate and precise advising.
Perhaps the advisors should be required to attend mandatory continuing education courses for advising. This way they will always be up-to-date and appraised of any changes.
Longer advising hours would also be very helpful, or sign-up sheets for students with sufficient blocked off time for advisement. This would allow the student and advisor enough time for a detailed evaluation of requirements and allotted time for questions or explanations when needed.
My last suggestion is, instead of approving another raise for our school president, how about hiring people solely for advising? This would alleviate some of the pressure for our already over-worked professors. It would also allow these individuals one area of focus, advisement, which hopefully would give them expertise.
Whatever the solution may be, something needs to be done. We, the students, pay our tuition, strive to receive good grades and comply with the school’s policies. Being misguided or misinformed by those we look to for guidance is discouraging and unacceptable.
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