GW academic advisers agree – the key to good advising lies with the student.
“There are people here to help you, but it’s you, the student, that has to be prepared to take the step and the responsibility,” said Kim Moreland, associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the Columbian School of Arts and Sciences.
Each of GW’s schools has its own advising department, giving each school the chance to offer its students academic advising tailored to their needs.
“We are a full-service place,” said Eileen Fiore, one of five advisers in the School of Business and Public Management. “No matter what the problem is, even if it is small, we can direct the student where to go.”
Fiore said the school offers a unique program – advising by business professionals who meet with students during the year.
Pam Allen, director of academic advising and student services in the Elliott School of International Affairs, said Elliott School advising begins at Colonial Inauguration. The Elliott School offers walk-in advising during the first week of classes to answer students’ questions, and after that, advising in the offices is by appointment.
Allen said Elliott School peer advisers meet with their younger counterparts during the first two weeks of classes to check up with them and help them solve problems that arise early in the semester.
This year, the Columbian School will offer a new curriculum in its freshman advising workshops, which are conducted by a faculty member, an adviser and a peer adviser, Moreland said.
“Each session will meet nine times and sessions are designed around certain objectives geared toward maximizing academic success,” she said.
The sessions will focus on objectives such as study skills, time management, using city resources and getting through general core requirements, she said.
“Students should expect somebody who will listen to what their interests are and to what their aspirations are, first and foremost academically,” said Craig Linebaugh, GW’s associate vice president for academic planning and special projects.
Advisers and upperclassmen agree that freshmen must prepare for advising by developing a basic idea of what they plan to accomplish during their four years at GW.
Linebaugh said the best way to prepare is to be flexible and a little adventurous.
“Be ready and willing to challenge yourself,” Linebaugh said. “Be willing to take risks and test your skills.”
“I think freshmen should read all the requirement material so they know what is expected of them,” said senior Jean Louise Conaway. “They should definitely get organized and try to plan everything out.”
“Make sure you check everything and check it again or else it could come back to haunt you junior and senior year,” said undergraduate Student Association Sen. Jared Hosid (CSAS).
The Elliott School’s Allen advises students to ask questions if they do not understand something that is required of them and to keep the lines of communication open between student and adviser.
“Don’t expect (advisers) to go after you,” Hosid said. “If you want things to work out, you need to make the effort yourself.”