Relationships with friends, significant others and professors are a big part of students’ college success. But perhaps the most valuable relationship they’ll form during their time at UCF is the one with their academic advisers.
Advisers strive to make sure every student who walks onto UCF’s campus one day walks across the stage at graduation, newly-earned degree in hand. And while some students are thankful for the guidance they receive from advisers, others have a different opinion.
In fact, some say advisers do more harm than good. Because of receiving false information in the past, some students would rather blaze their own trail than do so with an adviser by their side.
One student said he felt misled by an adviser from the College of Sciences. Afterward, he sought out the help of another adviser, who helped him get his schedule sorted out.
“At first they gave me good advice, but there was a miscommunication between the heads of the college. One person said I have to retake a course, but I really didn’t have to. Another adviser told me my AP credits would be enough,” said Blake Curtis, a sophomore computer engineering major.
Pedro Perez, a senior electrical engineering major, said he doesn’t like to see advisers. Instead, he would rather have control over his classes.
“If it was for them, I would be here longer than I have [to]. In my first year, I was told not to take two classes, but I did anyways and passed both. I would rather take the risk,” Perez said.
In the event that a student believes he or she has received false information from an adviser, something UCF spokeswoman Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala said is a rare case, the student can file a petition for review. For this, the first step is to go to the advising office where the student believes he or she received the false information and ask an adviser to start the petition process. Then the student must pay a visit to Academic Services and take it from there.
“We want all our students to succeed at UCF. That’s why there are a variety of academic advising services we make available to students,” Gonzalez Kotala said.
These services include advising for first-year students, student athletes, international students, disabled students and many more.
In lieu of completely eliminating advisers from the college equation, other students see advisers as a last resort and prefer to spearhead their academic journeys on their own.
“I barely talk to them. I would rather do the research myself than use an adviser as a last resort,” said Olivia Osbourne, a junior forensic science major.
However, this method doesn’t always pan out, especially if a student visits his or her adviser for the first time late in the game only to realize he or she won’t be graduating due to a missing class or credit.
The No. 1 thing students can do, Gonzalez Kotala said, is to not just visit their advisers in their first year and when they’re getting ready to graduate, but rather to see them in those in-between years, too.
For those who’d rather make their own path, there are many resources at hand, including MyUCF, through which students can frequently check their degree audits. Course catalogs for all of the university’s majors and minors can also be found online.
Gonzalez Kotala said students should speak with their college advisers as often as possible to obtain the most accurate information.
“In first-year advising [advisers] are in constant contact with the colleges so if a college decides to change a requirement for a degree that’s communicated back and forth, but it’s also important they’re talking to their major advisers as well,” Gonzalez Kotala said.
James Miller, a senior in the criminal justice program, said he enjoys talking to his adviser on a regular basis. He said he’s seen a guidance counselor twice in two years, so far.
“He helped me figure out which classes to take and I’ve got six classes left, so I’m pretty happy about that,” Miller said.
UCF advisers meet on a monthly basis to share news and best practices, as well as on a yearly basis to discuss any changes coming to the university.
Published on Central Florida Future.com