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Advising for dummies


Staff Writer

Not all advice is good advice, which can be a huge concern amongst students when the advice is coming from a person who regulates their academic career.

Salisbury University has a few weeks in the school year when it is required for all students to meet with their academic advisors. For most students this is the period of time to figure out what classes they need to take for the next semester and when they can sign up for them.

Students cannot sign up for classes without seeing an academic advisor because they are the ones who open the option on GullNet, to start choosing classes and when official sign up for classes begins.

Directly from the Salisbury University website, the Academic Advising Center tab, academic advisors are “responsible for assisting the student with understanding degree requirements, planning course work, and developing their academia at the university level.”

Based on that definition they are not entitled to convince students to change their career choice, to take unnecessary classes or tell them whether or not they should or should not drop a class. They can offer pros and cons to a student’s decision, but should be objective in the matter unless asked otherwise.

Unfortunately, many students believe that they should always do what an academic advisor suggests. After all, they are professionals that have more experience especially with that specific degree and it is the academic advisor’s job is to advise students to reach their goals.

There are many horror stories of advisor-gone-wrong situations happening and the real concern is how to put an end to it. Of course mistakes in advising will happen especially when that said advisor is working with at least fifty students and programs are constantly changing. However students can avoid these mistakes to keep their academic career on track.

First, students need to be informed. There are many class requirement guides on the Salisbury University website, also referred to as academic checklists. Read those and enter the advisory meeting knowing what classes are needed.

Also on the website there is something called a current academic catalog, when clicking on the course link there are all the different descriptions of classes that are written on the academic checklists.

Second, students need to be determined. Being told that certain goals are unrealistic, that switching careers would be a better idea, or receiving what sounds like bad advice, would make anyone somewhat upset. If students stay determined they can overcome this slightly upsetting situation. Determination and having a good plan to reach goals is what will get the good grades and the diploma.

Third, students should use their best judgment.  They should receive a second opinion, maybe even a third opinion, and then ponder the pros and cons to what was suggested in the meeting. It is wise to call trusted adults like family members, trusted professors or maybe even older college students that were once in the same position.

Many advisors do their job well and build meaningful relationships with their students. However there will always be the few that are opinionated and believe they are telling the student what is best for them, even though it is not.

Students need to be aware of this and should never feel pressured to do something that does not seem in their best interests. It both the student’s and advisor’s role to ensure success when determining classes in the semesters to come.

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