Sunday, March 8, 2009

The necessity of in-person advising

According to a GW Hatchet article published on March 5, the university is considering implementing an online advising system for students.

This newly proposed system would certainly provide students with easy access to simple information about major, credit, and other academic-related information, but it cannot be the primary point of contact for students. As the Hatchet's columnist Evan Schwartz argues:
Online advising would be a start to easing the advising process, but it should not replace the human contact necessary to feel like a part of an institution.
Schwartz is absolutely right. Students want to connect with people on campus, to be a part of the community, especially as freshmen. Connecting with a computerized advising system may actually leave students feeling disconnected.

Schwartz also suggests that incoming freshmen be assigned one advisor for all four years, so that students gain a foothold in the University during their first year, and then develop a relationship with that same advisor for the remainder of their time at GW. In addition, students would still be assigned a major advisor once declared, for guidance within their particular programs.

Longterm advisors are crucial, as they can better understand their students' personal and academic goals, how those goals change, and subsequently, what academic and professional options will best fit the students. Moreover, students who forge strong relationships with advisors may be more inclined to reach out to someone who knows them well, if in need of help.

Although I never received a four-year advisor, I have been lucky enough to develop excellent relationships with a few professors who have acted as unofficial advisors and mentors, providing me with guidance and advice both in and outside of the classroom. They have greatly impacted my outlook on life, and I look forward to maintaining these relationships once I graduate in May.

I strongly believe that every college student should have an opportunity to interact with an excellent advisor or mentor, and in-person, four-year advising is the best way to ensure that each student makes the most out of their college experience.

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