College Guide 2013
Coping With Unadvisable Advisors
Published: August 20, 2013
Jacob recounts, “This is what I was told: ‘Your education is not my responsibility, your education is your responsibility.’ Well okay then, you’re fired.” From that point on, Jacob took his educational trajectory into his own hands, but much of the damage was already done.
Jacob’s advisor left him in the dark about many things that could have accelerated his graduation, perhaps even saved him semesters in school and thousands of dollars, such as UIW’s online degree evaluation, available to all UIW students, and the substitution forms he could have filed to get back many of the credits he lost in transferring.
Now in his final semester, there’s nothing Jacob can do to regain that lost time and money.
“You need to be aware of your own degree plan ... ’cause you can’t depend on these advisors’ knowledge,” Jacob says, “watch yourself, because nobody else is going to watch out for you.” Drawing on his experiences at UIW, SAC and UTSA, Jacob says, “Across the board, I think these problems are everywhere.”
While Jacob’s advice is exactly what students should be doing, it begs the question of why we have advisors in the first place. As students, we are programmed to trust our professors and advisors to know their stuff and are required to rely on them—at least to an extent. Sadly, they don’t suffer the consequences of poor advising, the students do.
• Stay on top of your degree requirements. Consult your degree catalog to ensure you know what courses you need to graduate. Make sure it’s the correct edition, as they change based on when you entered the university.
• Consult your professors and senior classmates. They’ve been there and seen that and can offer advice as well as provide important information that you may not have.
• Talk to the offices that handle your degree evaluation. Papers can get lost and classes filed under the wrong requirement, keep tabs on where you really stand instead of where you think you do.
• If you need to, don’t be afraid to request a new advisor. You can do that! Try to pick someone in your department, but if that’s not possible, it’s OK to reach outside of your major.