Should we have advising holds?

By Alex Solari, Staff Writer

“I have to make an appointment with my advisor so I can pick classes this week,” I said to my girlfriend across the room.

She looked at me, confused, and said, “What’s an advising hold? At UMass Amherst I never even met my advisor.”

This was when I first realized that not all schools have “advising holds,” and in fact, some people like my girlfriend, Sarah, never even meet their assigned advisor while in college. So, should we follow a system like UMass Amherst, or are advising holds helpful to us?

The idea of an advising hold is good in theory. It makes sense that students would meet with an advisor every semester to make sure the classes students are taking are paving the road to their graduation, and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out requirements simply through COIN. However, some of the advisors on our campus cause more harm than help.

Thankfully, I have a great advisor, and haven’t experienced any troubles with this matter. However, I have friends and acquaintances who have told me  about their awful experiences with advisors. Every semester I see someone on the UMD Black Market complain about an issue they’ve had with their advisor.

So what is the reason for this? Are our advisors just careless? The problem with advisors at UMass Dartmouth isn’t that they don’t care, it’s that many of these advisors were never properly trained in the first place.

Most of the people who advise us aren’t advisors at all. Many of the advisors on campus are just professors who are also given an advisor position, on top of all of their other duties. Here are some of the problems and concerns my peers have expressed to me regarding advisors.

Advisors often lift their advising hold for students without meeting with them or even discussing the classes that the student is registering for, which makes the registration process more convenient for both parties. However, this completely defeats the purpose of an advising hold, and if this is the way some advisors work, then the advising hold should either be completely eliminated, or it should be enforced so that advisors meet with advisees face-to-face about their classes.

Another problem students have expressed is an advisor telling them to take a class for a particular requirement, and then finding out later that that class doesn’t count for the requirement after all.

This could happen for a variety of reasons, but in my opinion, it happens most often because of an advisor’s lack of knowledge. Sometimes, advisors simply google a student’s question about a requirement, and the UMass Dartmouth website often has misleading or obsolete information.

Since some advisors are only using the site to advise their students, this can cause issues that could have been resolved through clear communication between the University and advisors, as well as training for the advisors on these issues.

It’s clearly frustrating to have an advisor google everything you ask and act just as confused as you are, or have an advisor tell you a class counts that doesn’t. But, unfortunately, these professors were likely thrown into the position with little direction, and they should be cut some slack.

If the university is going to force us to go to an advisor before class registration, they should either give us actual, trained advisors, or train professors to make sure that they know a substantial amount about the requirements of majors.

However, what’s most important is making sure you’re in the right classes for your major and minor.

If you have a good advisor, take advantage of their help, and if you don’t, you can always go to the STAR Center for help!

Happy registration!

Photo Courtesy: Lithub

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