Using advisors to pick classes

By Justin McKinney, Staff Writer

It’s no secret that advising can be one of the most stressful times of the year for everyone. Not only are most people juggling prepping for finals, but they are also tasked with picking classes for the upcoming year, which at UMass Dartmouth can be extremely difficult.

While I have never really had a great experience with advising here at UMass Dartmouth, this past spring semester was horrible. First of all, I have had a different advisor all four semesters that I have been here.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, two of my four advisors were not even professors within my major, which is Crime and Justice.

This past semester I was saddled with an English professor as my advisor and that alone was enough to aggravate me.

The whole point of an academic advisor in the first place is to have a faculty member that you are supposed to be able to work with in order to set yourself up for success.This is not only for here at the university, but also in your post-grad life.

That’s extremely hard to do when you have zero idea who the person actually is. Not to mention in my own case, the advisor was not even a Crime and Justice professor. I am curious to know how this person could have the slightest idea of what to do for me as a Crime and Justice student, when he probably didn’t even have a clue about my major.

I really don’t think it’s too much to ask to simply have an advisor within your major; in fact I think it’s an extremely reasonable request.

Sadly, my issues with advising don’t end here.     My advisor this past semester, as well as my previous three, had extremely tight schedules.

While I am aware that professors have lives outside of their students, I’m an active member of the campus community and it would be nice if there was more than a single two-hour span during the week that I could be seen for advising.

Their advising times were between an hour and half on Tuesday and Thursday. And in this tight time span, I had class, therefore if I wanted an advising appointment I would have to skip class which I was not willing to do.

I communicated this to my advisor and his solution was for me to Skype him at night after I was out of class.

I shouldn’t have to Skype a professor in order to have an advising meeting just so I can pick classes. It isn’t fair that as a student, my options for advising are: skip your class or Skype your advisor.

As a student I am entitled to have a face-to-face meeting with my advisor. I realize that professors have limited time for these meetings, but an hour and a half twice a week is extremely limited.

It’s also absurd that a hold is placed on your account if you do not have a meeting with your advisor.

When I finally figured out that I could just go to any professor’s office and have a so called “advising meeting,” it lasted a whopping five minutes.

I already knew what classes I had to take and while she was ready to answer any questions I had, I simply didn’t have any.

If you have the advising form for your major as well as a list of classes with the distribution and university requirements they fulfill, it’s a very easy process. It has taken me about ten minutes total to figure out what classes I need to take in order to graduate on time each of the three times I have done advising since my first year.

With the aggravating and difficult way this school sets up advising, it would be a relief for students if we could simply choose to have an advising meeting if we want to, rather than having a hold on our account if we don’t have time for one (or in some cases don’t need one).

It would save students and professors time, as well as lifting stress off many people’s shoulders.

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