Feb. 25, 2017
Since mandatory academic advising was implemented at Biola University a little more than a year ago, students are reporting positive results. The new academic advising requirement for students aims to assist students with staying on track to graduate on time.
“I like that I have to meet with my advisor every semester because it gives me a chance to talk to someone who knows what’s going on,” said Jessie Flynn, kinesiology major.
Uncommon at state schools, mandatory academic advising decreases frustration and confusion for students. Every student is assigned to a faculty member or staff advisor. Students must meet with their assigned advisor in order to receive a PIN number which allows students to then register for classes. This added step to the process gives the advisor an opportunity to provide students with a clear understanding of what classes they need to take to fulfill graduation requirements and graduate on time. Meetings with the assigned advisor are mandatory every semester through graduation.
Students with a declared major are assigned one advisor from their program to meet with throughout their collegiate career, which also provides a mentorship opportunity. Undeclared students meet with general advisors at the Advising Center and are given guidance on selecting a major.
Advisors have noticed reduced stress in students during registration and that students have appreciated the personal connection advising provides.
“There is greater clarity about advising, and students are more likely to have a clear connection and point of contact in their academic program,” said Stockton.
Biola’s required academic advising is unlike that of many colleges where student advising is suggested, but not mandatory. Students are expected to be proactive and left to finding out what classes they need to take to graduate without much assistance. With Biola’s advising process students are able to meet with one advisor throughout their Biola college career, eliminating the challenge of getting conflicting advice from different advisors and professors.
"Advising is required each semester because of the significant impact a consistent one-on-one relationship with a faculty member can have in the life of a student," said Stockton.
Biola is monitoring the long-term effect the new process will have on a student’s college career, however, at this point, it is making it easier for students to ensure they are registering for the classes they need to graduate.
“I go in with a list of classes that I’m thinking of taking and my advisor basically tells me if it looks good or if there are any classes that I should wait to take the following year,” said Flynn.
Though one advising session is required of every student every semester, students are meeting with their advisors often and visiting the Advising Center to seek advice on graduation requirements.
“It is too early to confidently correlate positive results coming from these changes, but we did experience a slight improvement in our most recent four-year graduation rate,” said Stockton. “We are certain that more consistent contact with academic programs and advisors is occurring, resulting in greater clarity regarding requirements for graduation.”
Written by Brittney Morales, iBiola Reporter. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne at (562) 777-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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