Advisement is a two-way street

Staff Writer 

I ‘m a student with more than enough credits to graduate, but I’m missing one important thing, a degree.  You might be asking yourself, “How is that possible?” Sure, any student who forgets that he or she must petition to graduate, misses the deadline, or takes an ample amount of basic courses is subject to wait a little longer.  My situation is unusual – although I have enough credits, some of them are not attributable or significant to my major.  My advisor(s) suggested I embark on a variety of subjects, only to find out that they were insufficient.

Each semester every student is assigned a designated advisor.  As a freshman, you’re generally encouraged to meet with the department chair overseeing your major.  Their job is to recommend classes, inform you about changes in the curriculum, and essentially steer you in the right direction.  As an incoming student, I had a general idea of the classes I needed, but I was not familiar with course selection.  When I met with my advisor for the firsttime, I was given a list of classes corresponding to my major and sent to a conference room to fill out my paperwork. 

Unaided by my advisor, I struggled to pick and choose courses, but with a little help from other students, I was finally able to figure out what I was doing.  I walked away from my “appointment” feeling disappointed because I expected my advisor to walk me through everything step by step, and that’s not what occurred.

After my first semester, I took it upon myself to pick my own advisor(s).  My objective was to seek a professor that would take the time to sit down and assist me.  At this point, I knew I would have to stay an extra semester to obtain my degree.  Over the course of two semesters I met with two of my professors.  Both professors were more than willing to help me arrange my class schedule.  They were both encouraging and worked diligently to help me select courses.  Both questioned why I took some of the classes I did and the only answer I had was that my old advisor told me I needed it.  This genuinely concerned me, because every advisor I had ever gone to pointed the finger at another one for making a mistake.

 I realized something wasn’t right.  I started to put the pieces together after I met with my high school guidance counselor. What I didn’t know is that some of the classes suggested by my advisors were non-essential. Semester after semester I took one or two courses that I didn’t need.

I was left with two options: stay at CCC and finish it out, or transfer.  I’ve attended CCC for over two years now, and although I’ve encountered many opportunities to learn about the environment and save money, I’m ready to move on.  Anyone in a situation like this would be just as frustrated as I am. I chose to transfer because I feel it is the best decision for my future.  It would not be worth it to stay only to take one or two classes.

I can appreciate that Advisement Day is set aside for students to meet with their advisors.  I do believe it is important to take advantage of Advisement Day as well.  I think that the advisors need to be more knowledgeable about what courses are offered.  They’re not there to hold your hand, but they are there to assist you. 

It all comes down to the advisor’s signature on the schedule.  Overlooking a problem is pure carelessness, but that shouldn’t be the student’s fault.  There are ways to avoid a situation similar to mine.  I would suggest incoming students to meet with Dr. Steven Stolar, Director of Advisement.  It would be much more effective for students looking for the best guidance.  It would also be a good idea to refer to the course catalogues to be prepared when you meet with your advisor.


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