Orientation advisement needs remodel, first-year students require reliable guidance

When a new student has their first orientation at Geneseo, they are unsure but excited for their adventures. They receive an advisor who they expect will answer any questions they may have on how to register for classes. 

Unfortunately, advisement—specifically orientation advisement—at Geneseo needs to be revamped, as many students feel that their experience has been unsatisfactory.     

Summer orientation advising is not always clear. When we meet our temporary advisors, we do not know much about the process that goes into planning classes. There is a portion of students who are first generation college students or who don’t have older siblings to offer them guidance on which classes to take and when.

Psychology and English double major sophomore Aliyha Gill experienced this flawed advising first-hand the summer before her freshman year. 

“I was a declared psychology major when I went to orientation, but I was given an anthropology professor [advisor] during orientation,” Gill said.

At orientation, it is assumed that you will receive an advisor from the same department you are majoring in so the advisement is clear and well-directed, but Gill was not so lucky. 

Gill was told that her score of three on the Advanced Placement Psychology exam would satisfy the Psychology 100 requirement for the psychology major. Her advisor at orientation then registered her for upper-level psychology courses like Child Development and Biopsychology. Unfortunately, this misinformed advisement was detrimental to the planning of her courses for the upcoming fall semester. 

“During the next registration, I found out a three on the [AP Exam] did not satisfy the Psychology 100 requirement. I was not supposed to be in upper division courses that she placed me in,” Gill said. “To make things worse, I was not supposed to be allowed to take biopsychology without taking a college level biology [course] first. I withdrew from that course at the time and I am now re-taking it after taking human biology last semester.”

This is just one example of how misguided information and lack of clarification can hurt a student’s studies. Some might argue that students can look to Degree Works for guidance, but the page is often confusing, especially to new students who have never seen something similar. 

The setup of Degree Works is not clear and leaves room for assumptions. The program shows every class you can possibly take to satisfy a requirement tightly packed into one box on the right side of the screen. It is not always clear that some courses have corequisites or prerequisites.  

In addition, the general education science requirement lists every science you are able to register for which takes up the whole page, leading some students to assume they have to take every science course listed. 

College is often the first time students are truly on their own. Understandably, we are expected to step up and do things independently, but planning for our future may be difficult if information is not properly clarified. 

The advising system must be more accountable. Orientation advisors must be well informed so they can distribute clear and correct information so students will not be surprised by any requirements for their degree.