It’s time to prepare to graduate, and you find out you need another course that you or your adviser did not know about. Or you’re an underclassman, and you find out halfway through a course that you never needed it in the first place and could have taken another course to get ahead on your major. These are the problems that countless students have faced during their time at Ole Miss that have caused frustration, wasted funds and delayed many graduations.
Thankfully, I have been guided by advisers who made an effort to guide me through the curriculum, but many aren’t so lucky.
No one can deny that missed courses cost time and money, adding to the stress of many college students who already have to deal with full-time course loads, extracurricular activities and Greek life — not to mention a part- or full-time job. There is no doubt that missed courses and ineffective advising contributed to 2014 data stating that 48.3% of college students graduate in four years and 64.2% graduate in six years.
Though many factors play into these rates, which have increased over time, it goes without saying that a major fix would be a better academic advising system.
If we keep the current advising system, advisers should be trained a set amount of hours per semester to keep up with catalog changes and new ways to support their advisees. My issue with this proposal is that it further strains such advisers who already have a burden of teaching, keeping up with research demands or tending to administrative duties.
A close relationship between adviser and advisee would allow the two parties to focus on developing themselves and, more importantly, on keeping up retention efforts. So, who would deal with advising? Well, employing more academic advisers whose sole job is to monitor students’ progress, recognize if a student is failing early and reach out in time to provide resources is integral.
The problem is that, while this type of academic adviser does exist for some students, that is not the case for all students on this campus.
Many would say this is a form of coddling, but many universities already employ similar systems to monitor their students. They have been shown to increase timely graduation rates and improve students’ course loads.
If we truly cared about our students and their mental health, then we would adjust our advising system accordingly so that students would no longer be lost in the gears of our institution. A few extra dollars a semester to better prepare our current advising system or hire more advisers would save hundreds of dollars, many tears and countless hours of time.
Jonathan Lovelady is a senior sociology and geology major.