Every new college student is usually nervous about what awaits them. There is so much to figure out including what your degree is going to be and what classes you need to take. It can be overwhelming and having guidance could be one of the best things to help you start on the right track. Academic Advisors are employed at every college and each student is assigned one their first year.
College Advisors The role of faculty in academic advising dates back to 1841, when Kenyon College stipulated that each student must select a faculty member to be an advisor (Harrison, 2009) Every undergraduate student is assigned to a College advisor that they will have for the next four years while on campus.
Advisors introduce and assist students with their transitions to the academic world by helping them see value in the learning process, gain perspective on the college experience, become more responsible and accountable, set priorities and evaluate their progress, and uphold honesty, encourage self-reliance, develop lifelong learning and self-management skills (Hughey, 2011). Advisors should be able to successfully communicate with students and be able to develop a positive relationship with them.
They should engage students as much as possible to keep them involved and motivated in pursing their education. During your first year your Advisor should help you select your core courses and discuss your major with you. If you have already selected your major they then can help you fit in those courses you need with your core ones. Advisors should help you schedule your classes in a way that will benefit you and not overload you. Besides just your classes your advisor should also be able to help you with internships, clubs, fraternities and sororities, etc.
Academic advising requires engaging students to think critically about their academic choices and make effective plans for their education (Schulenberg & Lindhorst, 2008). Advisors should spend time face to face as well as communicating via phone, email. Etc. Academic advising is very important to the student and their education. Nadler and Simerly (2006) conducted a study regarding the relationship and importance of listening to the students willingness to trust and work with an academic advisor.
They found that very strong positive correlations between listening and trust, competence, benevolence, dependability, likeability, and honesty. When a student perceives the advisor as being concerned with his or her specific situation the opportunity is enhanced for a relationship to be built based on trust and mutual respect (Hughey, 2011). My Experience at Ottawa Since I decided to come back to school in August of 2011, I have had multiple problems with advisors and faculty. To begin my advisor never sat down with me and planned out a schedule for what I still needed to take.
Everything that was done was over the phone and I was the one persistently calling and emailing to get answers and things resolved. There was major lack of communication. I was sent the classes that I had left to take and took it upon myself to make a schedule of the next year and half. Also I was the one who had my advisor check and double check to make sure my degree plan was accurate and on track with the classes she said I had left. Another 4 hours of electives got added because of me doing so and being persistent.
Little did I know that Ottawa does not have the classes scheduled far in advance so I could plan accordingly. I could plan the next one to two terms but that was it. The year at a glance on the Ottawa website was there but it did not tell what nights the classes would be offered on. Just that they were going to be offered that term. That caused a problem for me. How was I supposed to schedule my classes if I didn’t know what nights the classes were on? I could very well have two classes down that ended up being given on the same night and that would hinder my plan and possibly my graduation date.
Ottawa does not offer lots of classes every term nor the same class every term. I have to make sure I take the classes I need as they are being offered so I don’t miss out and end up having to wait around for it to be offered again. Also they will cancel a class if there is not at least 5 students enrolled in it close to the start date. They did not care that I had a plan or needed that class and wanted to graduate when I was supposed to. That is there policy. Another issue I had was that they were trying to move the Accounting degree online and that is not what I enrolled for.
I do not have access to the internet besides at work or on my phone and had no desire to take any accounting classes online. My advisor told me one term that if I wanted a class to be offered on campus I would have to find four other students that needed to take that class as well. I do believe that should be the job of an advisor as I do not know every student that attends and what their degree is. I went above my advisor and still no email to the students or anything was done. I had to keep calling and keeping fighting because, to me, that was not fair.
Finally, after weeks of fighting they decided to offer that class on the campus for me and another student. When we started the class we found out that there were two other students who ended up signing up for the class after they were aware it was being offered on campus. Problem here is that these two other students had went to their advisors as well and were told the same thing as me about finding other students in order to make it an on campus class. Now if the advisors actually cared about our education they would have assisted us in this process and also would have known about the other students who needed it as well.
I came back to school as a Junior and just wanted to finish my degree. It became harder to sign up for my classes than worrying about the actual work I had to do for my classes. I was tired of not getting called back and the story changing from one person to the next depending on who you talked to. Ottawa changed some things around and let go of not only my advisors but others as well it slowly started to improve. I still have issues but as long as I have teachers that are willing to work with me since I can not afford the internet I will be okay.
If it was not for this I probably would have ended up dropping out again and not finishing. I still have scheduling concerns as I don’t know in advance what nights classes will be given on but I do know that they are working to fix that. If two classes end up on the same night I just hope that after all I have been thru they will work with me so I can take the classes I need. This would not be a problem if they offered more classes a term but I only have a select few each term to chose from so what I have scheduled in my plan really needs to be followed. Expectations of Advisors at Other Colleges (not done)
I have done some research to see how other colleges value the advisor/student relationship and what they expect from their advisors. Tulane University states that Academic advising is a collaborative partnership that maximizes the individual potential of students by sharing information, tools, and resources that empower students to make informed decisions about creating appropriate academic and career plans to achieve their academic, career, and life goals. They list the responsibilities of both the advisor and the student in order for the student to have a successful experience. The advisor responsibilities stated are;
1. Explain university policies, regulations, programs and procedures 2. Be available to meet with you each semester during regular office hours 3. Advise on course selection and assist you in developing an academic plan that satisfies your degree requirements 4. Listen to your concerns and refer you to the appropriate support services if needed 5. Discuss with you your academic performance and the implications for the programs you desire to pursue 6. Help you explore your interests, abilities, and goals as they relate to your majors 7. Be knowledgeable about career opportunities and the university’s Career Services Center
8. Act as a mentor with a goal of helping you become independent and self-directed Conclusion (not done) Academic advising is very important in a student’s success with a university. There is so much to know and that you could get involved with. It could change your college experience greatly. If I had reliable advising from the beginning my experience would have been much less stressful and enjoyable. I came back to school because I was ready and wanted to graduate. I have kids and I am living paycheck to paycheck. I am ready for the next step in my life and have a career so my kids can have some stability and no worries about life or money.