Advising blues

Academic advising, especially during freshman year, sets the course of students’ college careers. If a person enters college to meet knowledgeable, interested and coherent advisors, a GW education will come much more smoothly – and graduating on time is all but a sure thing.

However, Columbian School advising is plagued by professors who simply sign off on paperwork and have little, if any, clue as to what classes must be taken to fill core requirements.

Many Columbian School advisors do the bare minimum – students make an appointment with them, they glance over a student’s classes and then sign a form to release the hold so that the student can register for next semester’s classes. In many cases, advisors give students wrong or contradictory information.

This is unacceptable. Advisors are advisors because they are supposed to know the ins and outs of requirements. If they do not, then they should not be in a position to possibly screw up a student’s academic career.

It is just plain wrong that some seniors find out in February that they will not be graduating on time because they failed to take a requirement at some time in the past. All students should have graduation advising sessions with professional Columbian School advisors in the second semester of their junior year. This way, they will know what classes they have left to take so that they don’t receive any unwanted surprises a year later.

Advisors are entrusted with students’ academic careers, and should have a greater amount of communication and interaction with their charges. Likewise, students should be aware of what requirements they need to take.

One doesn’t have to wander far at GW to find someone sidetracked by bad advising. Students should learn from these stories to take the initiative for their own success. Until the advising system changes, no well-woven safety net exists to keep you from falling through the cracks. Taking a trip to the Columbian School office to request a balance sheet and paying careful attention to requirement certainly would be a step in the right direction.

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