The troubles with student advising

The troubles with student advising

The troubles with student advising
July 05
16:59 2017

Advisers are supposed to be there for students whenever they have questions about courses, major specifics and so on.

Every time I leave an advising appointment, for years now, I’ve had to teach myself and figure out what to do next. I’m often leaving with more questions than before.

Priding itself as a transfer-friendly school, UNT has over 38,000 students and counting. Two years ago, I was among the transfer student population. I needed all the help and guidance in the world when it came to leaving community college and going to a big university. I ended up taking some of the wrong classes and I didn’t have as many transfer credits as I was led to believe.

The transfer rate to UNT is 15 percent, with over 500 courses available to transfer, according to CollegeTransfer.Net. That is 15 percent of students who have gone in blind, like me, and needed an abundant amount of guidance to stay afloat.

Going to community college for my first year and then transferring to UNT was definitely hard, and advising was a small help. I was more stressed about what classes to take, how many to take and above all else, what my grades even were. I was unaware until the end of my first semester I was on academic probation. My parents got a letter in the mail warning of suspension if I did not get my GPA up in the following semester.

There was no warning going to UNT this would be an issue, and even my advisers at the community college I went to didn’t warn me ahead of time. While I knew my starting collegiate grades weren’t great, I was completely unaware they were that bad. I never even knew what “academic probation” or “academic suspension” meant upon first hearing about those consequences.

In a 2012 survey from Penn State, 59 percent of students believe academic advising is extremely important in achieving their educational goals and 88 percent of students contact an adviser at some point during their college career. Sixty-one percent of students were satisfied with the quality of academic advising, while 15 percent stated dissatisfaction with their experience.

While I am undoubtedly a regular with UNT advisers, I fortunately get more guidance at the expense of a few instances of confusing information. Students need to be more aware of what their futures will look like. Students’ futures and thousands of dollars in loan debt are in their hands to control. It’s just a matter of proper advisement to lead them in the right direction.

I’m not saying the job isn’t being done, but more should be done if advisers generally make $53,600 a year. Students don’t need to be left in the dark about transcript issues or course issues if that’s the case.

At the same time, students need to speak up as well. From these experiences, I’ve learned all the right questions to ask and how to get the answers myself. It is your education, so ask for all the answers and help you need to survive college.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

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Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

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