Geneseo advisement lacks guidance, structure

As a spring semester junior, I am very aware of the stress from registration and class selection. I have one more year to complete the required classes to qualify for graduation and, as is the case with many of my peers, staying an extra semester would not be ideal. And as a double major, time is tight to fit the essential courses into two looming semesters and one last summer session.

After three long, eventful years, I have encountered a myriad of problems with Geneseo’s advisement process. Advisement has driven me to feel an anxiety not proportionate to the actual work necessary for a successful registration period. These problems revolve around a lack of communication between adviser and student, which, instead of creating independence, leaves students unsure of how to combat confusions on registration requisites.   

As part of this fundamental knowledge, the general education requirement is rooted in the college’s liberal arts background. The general education requirement is valuable to students looking to receive a globally conscious education—yet the implementation of these requirements can frequently be misleading, resulting in mistakes in a student’s selection of classes.

As a victim of this confusion, I took two science classes—one each semester of my freshman year—expecting both to cover the science general education requirement. I did not find out until second semester junior year that, because both classes were under the same “GSCI” prefix, I would still need to take another class to cover the extent of the requirement.

Although I take responsibility for missing this policy in the requirement, I find it surprising that no one stepped forward to mention that I should take a science under a different prefix, especially since I was still a first semester freshman at the time of this registration. It was only after the implementation of DegreeWorks two years later that I noticed I was walking into my senior year with an extra requirement.

Business administration major junior Courteney Bengen misunderstood the fine arts general education requirements and felt unaided by her adviser. “My adviser signed me up freshman year for an art history class but never mentioned anything about taking a class with a different prefix to fulfill the requirement,” she said. “I signed up for another art history only to find out two weeks into class that it wouldn’t count toward my gen-ed requirement. I had to withdraw and it set me behind.”

These simple mistakes could be avoided with a more attentive, interactive advisement staff, yet students consistently feel they are on their own when it comes to registration.

The problem seems to originate with the insufficient and irregular communication between student and adviser. Either the professor has little time, the student has little time or neither fully grasps the necessity of discussing in detail and in person the scheduling process each semester. This lack of open discussion allows for mistakes to be overlooked. Additionally, students may feel abandoned or uncomfortable when asking for additional help we should be doing it all on our own, right?

It is important to note that not all students fall victim to neglect. Political science and sociology double major senior Aimee Bacher expressed that her adviser treats each advisee at an individual level with respect. “She always asks about my goals and helps me map out a plan to try to reach them,” Bacher said.

The disparity between dedicated faculty and those not so dedicated leaves many confused as to why their adviser seems to lack the attentive nature that their neighbor may receive elsewhere.

Although it is a two-way street and students need to actively participate in the conversation, appointments for advisement ceaselessly feel like little more than removing a hold on an account an act that advisers frequently dismiss over email. Whether the solution is changing our attitudes or physically hiring actual advisement administrators, a solution must be found in order to contest the issue.

It can all be summarized by my peer’s response to my question on her experience with Geneseo’s advisement: “What advisement?”