Students and Faculty Agree: Academic Advising is Crucial to a Student’s academic success in College
Academic advising: its necessity infuses Central Oregon Community College’s campus for weeks before the beginning of each term. Regardless of degree choice or lack thereof, everyone at COCC, and indeed at most colleges and universities, is affected by the way academic advising systems are set up and organized.
Students hold differing opinions about the way the academic advising system is set up at COCC. Some think that the lock on students’ accounts before advising during the registration period is too harsh, while others disagree. Some are pleased with the level of advice they’re getting during academic advising, some are neutral, and others are unhappy.
However, faculty and students agree that academic advising is important for finding an educational direction. Kara Graeber, who eventually wants to get a degree in music, said that she wouldn’t know what classes to take without help from her academic advisor.
“If I didn’t go see my advisor, I would be taking classes that wouldn’t help me in reaching my goal,” Graeber said. Graeber, however, does not like how students are locked out of registering until they have seen their adviser.
“I believe that what should motivate a student to go see an advisor is not a hold they have on their account,” Graeber said, “It should be that they are genuinely lost and don’t know what classes they need to take,” but she said that overall the advising process was helpful.
Tina Redd, a full time faculty member in the Writing and Literature departments, is an academic adviser for exploratory and AAOT-seeking students.
“(It’s) not like they’re lost or confused,” Redd said. She said that the students she advises usually know one of two things –“One that they don’t know what they want to study, and two that they want a four-year degree.”
Redd emphasizes getting a plan in place during advising appointments, and said that letting your advisor know what your interests are can help them help you make a decision about direction, since choosing a career that has little to nothing to do with your interests can make school much more difficult.
“I love to dance; do you think I’d be a good helicopter pilot?” Redd laughed.
However, Redd said that for spring term registration she only saw about half of the students she was assigned for advising.
“Students work really hard to avoid this process and I’m not sure why,” Redd said, “You need academic advising.”
Garrett Wenetta, an exploratory student, said that he thinks the way academic advising is set up is good the way it is. Wenetta said that the lock put on students’ accounts prevented him from making “rash, uninformed decisions” about his education.
“I think that it is a good system, and can help to keep students on the right track,” Wenetta said.
Universities throughout the world offer academic advising to their students. Wikipedia.org defines academic advising as “series of intentional interactions with a curriculum, a pedagogy, and a set of student learning outcomes.”
COCC’s model of academic advising follows the national norms fairly closely, emphasizing that the quality level of academic advice is ultimately the student’s responsibility. COCC’s CAP center web page states “Advising is a shared responsibility. Your advisor is available to you as a source of information, recommendations, and encouragement…The ultimate responsibility for connecting with your advisor… is yours.” (http://cap.cocc.edu/Advising/About/default.aspx)