Editorial: Advisement system flawed, students pay the price
Spring registration is just around the corner and the pressure is palpable. Students are rushing to squeeze in advisement appointments, scouring RateMyProfessor reviews and, for the seniors, checking all the boxes to ensure a timely graduation.
It is a risky game. One wrong credit hour could potentially force someone into an additional semester. One semester gone awry can seriously impede a student’s college experience. One bad piece of advice from an advisor can lead a student’s entire academic career astray, potentially derailing not only their future careers, but their financial stability.
The cost of college has risen to insurmountable heights. Student debt stands at $1.3 trillion and has quadrupled over the last decade. A college degree is meant to open doors and provide opportunities, but with the pressure of gaining independence post-graduation, the liberating nature is deterred. $16,000 per semester for out-of-state students is a major deal. If a student is forced into an extra semester, the college debt continues to build.
With the majority of college students incurring debt at some point in their four, if not more years at college, the margin of error is slimmer than ever. Competition to secure internships, jobs, recommendations and scholarship money is increasing as application numbers rise, leaving less of these limited opportunities to go around. To a student adjusting to college though, this news may strike them as surprising. A swirl of potential classes, majors, minors, clubs and activities can be disorienting, especially to a first- or second-year student struggling to specify exactly what they want to make of their college experience.
Advisors are meant to act as reassuring guidances for both first-year students adjusting to the commotion of college and upper-division students alike.
However, many at the university have reported having less-than-helpful experiences with their advisors, and this lack of direction has cost students valuable money and time.
The university should take after other schools to improve their advisement.
Temple University for example, another large, neighboring public university, deals with advisement concerns differently. Instead of utilizing professors, who often have full schedules balancing teaching and research obligations, Temple hires professional advisors whose sole jobs are to assist students with registration.
With this, professionals have a more linear focus, and a more active role, in selecting courses that will help students graduate on time. They are often more approachable and have more availability than advisors who double as professors
Every summer, professional advisors at Temple are educated on the changes that occur within their respective departments, and this knowledge is then reflected and distributed to their students.
Along with this, advisors focus on students that are at a higher risk for dropping out. This includes first-generation students, students who work more than 20 hours per week and students with troubled high school transcripts. This specification allows advisors to adjust their approach to each individual student and the student’s needs.
Specifically at the university, changes can be made to our New Student Orientation (NSO) process. Many students note that their advisor was not knowledgeable about registration and in some scenarios, was not a professor of their intended major.
Oftentimes, when students realize they need help, it’s too late.
Editorials are developed by The Review’s Editorial Board, led this week by Editorial Editor Marissa Onesi. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.