Number of no-shows down by half under Elliott School advising’s two-strike policy

Officials said the Elliott School's no-show policy has cut down no-shows for advising appointments nearly in half.

One year after the international affairs school’s undergraduate advising office created a two-strike no-show policy for students, the office has observed a 57 percent decrease in missed appointments.

The office cracked down on missed appointments last year, announcing that students who miss two or more scheduled appointments with their adviser in a semester without notifying the office in advance would be blocked from signing up for a 30-minute session in the future. Officials said the policy has led to a “measurable drop” in skips but cautioned that the policy has not been in place long enough to determine its success.

University spokesman Jason Shevrin said each Elliott School of International Affairs adviser averaged 15 no-shows last semester, a drop from an average of 35 missed appointments per adviser in fall 2018.

“The Elliott School’s advisers are here to support students and believe that the policy and its publicity are responsible for the drop in no-shows,” he said in an email.

Students must cancel their appointments at least 24 hours in advance for a “no-show” not to be recorded. If students miss two or more appointments without prior notice, they can still use drop-in office hours to chat with advisers, where no scheduled appointments are necessary.

Shevrin added that the office may have observed a drop in missed appointments because some advisers’ have sent warning emails to students who miss appointments. He said students “typically” respond and promise not to miss another one.

He said students have not submitted any complaints or comments about the policy to the advising office, and student workers in the office have noted that the policy is not a concern for their peers.

He said administrators are not currently considering any changes to the policy.

“Advisers will continue to communicate with students about the policy and consistently record no-shows and follow-up with students,” Shevrin said.

More than 10 Elliott School students said the policy ensured that advisers are not wasting their time, which could otherwise be spent providing other students with necessary academic assistance.

Hayley Lenamon, a freshman majoring in international affairs, said she does not think the school’s “no-show” rule is overly harsh because students are able to miss an appointment without prior notice before facing the penalty.

She said the policy helps teach students to be accountable for their actions as they prepare to enter the professional world.

“As a college student, you have to be organized and responsible for yourself,” Lenamon said. “Especially since we’re trying to have a successful future.”

Lenamon said other schools at GW should take the same measures as the Elliott School because the international affairs school has a reputation for having better advising services than those of other schools and programs.

“I feel like it’ll make the system more efficient in general if they too enforce the same policies,” he said.

Ian Ching, a freshman majoring in international affairs, said he supports Elliott’s “no-show” policy because students who make appointments and decide not to show up take a limited time slot away from a student who could met with their adviser.

“I think if it’s such a problem that academic advisers are getting ghosted by their students, then it’s not only disrespectful to the adviser but also to other students in Elliott who desperately need to see an adviser,” he said.

Ching said students on the Mount Vernon Campus and those who live off-campus might have more trouble making their appointments than students on Foggy Bottom but added that everyone must be held responsible for running late regardless of their living situation.

“When they sign up for their advising session that they know the time they’re supposed to meet with their adviser,” he said. “So, if they live off campus, they should know to plan ahead.”

Fidan Baycora, a senior majoring in international affairs, said she was surprised when she received an email about the cancellation policy, since she was abroad when the department changed its policy, but she is sympathetic to both advisers and students.

“I understand how not showing up would waste advisers’ time and take up space from other students who could’ve used that time slot,” Baycora said. “I believe if it’s a recurring problem, then it should be addressed.”

But Baycora, like other students, said the penalties associated with the Elliott School’s policy are too strict, and advisers should be sensitive to students’ schedules and needs.

She said officials should explore options other than harsh penalties for missing appointments, like greater communication between students and advisers about expectations, to reduce the number of advising no-shows.

“I understand the advising department is managing a lot of students and how it’s frustrating when students don’t show up to scheduled appointments, but I think the focus should be on communicating better with the student body than just handing out these strict rules and punishments,” Baycora said.

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