Academic Advising or Academic Downfall?

by C. Alex Biersch

In high school, your counselor was someone who would call you in from time to time and talk with you about your grades, where you were thinking about applying to, and getting you from one step to the next in your high school career. That is what we expect in counselors and assume they are excited to help us and get us on our feet so that we are successful in the real world. A counselor is important for students to have and to be able to come to when they need help and feel like they are in over their heads.

However, with so many students at Chapman University, counselors are treating us as simply numbers on a list instead of as actual people with issues. These college counselors should be showing more interest in the future of their students, rather than treating them like a statistic.

When I went on a recent visit with my college counselor, I was greeted with the information that “we have already met at the beginning of the year” and “just take these classes out and put these in place of them.” I found that level of assistance we were accustomed to in high school gave me greater expectations that certainly have not been met by counselors; I felt they wanted to push me through the system as fast as possible.

When looking on the academic advising website, I found the missions statement of the department. In no way have I or many other colleagues in the Chapman community, felt the Academic Advising Center has fulfilled what they aim to do.

The mission of the Academic Advising Center is to coordinate and support an advising program that consistently provides students with information and counsel they need to develop sound educational goals, and to make effective decision about University courses and programs that will enable them to realize those goals.  

With a degree or some type of credential in counseling, one would assume that it would these counselors would enjoy guiding and advising students on their path towards graduation. I never thought that I would run into trouble with getting guidance from someone who has been trained to guide others. Either the counselors at our schools do not care enough to make the effort or they are not trained sufficiently to do so.

I do realize with the amount of students that Chapman University accepts continues to rise each year. This only hurts the students more as the number of students designated to a counselor increases. With that being said, the amount of students should never effect the way that they perform in their profession. They need to be able to make certain that a student not only graduates, but also graduates on time and in good standing. This is vital in order for a graduate to be able to perform to the highest standards in the work force.

The only possible solution to this problem is to have counselors that are there to serve students with the goal to make their college experience as comfortable as reasonably possible. They need to get counselors who want to be there and help the student population become successful. The goal of the student should not matter, just that they are trying to better themselves in the form of education.

While I hold hope that there are some very good counselors who act like we expect, from my personal experience and hearing other students’ experiences, I feel that the mission of the counselor has failed and needs to be re-evaluated.

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