Adviser process hard to schedule but can be helpful

John Fliter, academic advisor overseeing political sciences majors with an emphasis on pre-law, meets with Heidee Prosser, freshman in political science during an advising appointment in Waters Hall on April 9, 2015. While planning for an advising appointment can be stressful, meeting with an academic advisor can be very helpful especially for students in need for some guidance. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

When new students make an appointment to meet with their academic adviser for the first time, they have no choice but to trust that this stranger knows what classes will be best suited for them.

As the years go by, however, students can often forget that advisers are more than just DARS-decoders or flag-lifters.

“Some people think our only job is to get them through classes to graduate, but that’s only part of it,” Wes Wise, adviser and assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, said. “Talk to your adviser about career goals. That way, we can use that information to help you take the best combination of classes.”

This combination will probably include a few general education courses at one point or another. Much to students’ dismay, Wise clarified that an adviser’s job “is not to find the easiest physical science or philosophy requirement class to take.”

Each department operates under their own advising system. Some use technology to make finding the perfect appointment time quick and painless. Others still require students to write their name in a time slot attached to their adviser’s door.

That isn’t the only thing that some departments require, though. For some, being an adviser is simply one of the many duties that come with being a professor – potentially adding more stress than success.

“Ideally, we’d have professional advisers to specifically advise about classes, which would free us up to do more career advising,” Wise said.

With some professors adding advising responsibilities to their busy schedules, students can often run into communication or scheduling issues. Luke Becker, senior in informational systems, found this out the hard way.

“Schedule your appointment as soon as you can, because they do have to advise a lot of students and it can be hard to get in,” Becker said.

Logistics aside, seeing a friendly face in the advising office can have its perks.

“(My adviser) taught one of my classes, so she’s very educated in knowing what classes to take or not take,” Emily Webb, freshman in secondary education, said. “And because she had me as a student, she actually knows me and cares.”

So while you have to trust your adviser, remember that they rely on you to reach out to them if you need guidance.