LSA junior Ashlee Mosley decided to double major in Latin and political science as a way to pursue her divergent interests. Little did she know that there was no one adviser to guide her on how to fulfill the requirements of both majors.
Mosley said while she was generally able to find information online to plan her double major, there were a lot of “loopholes” in requirements, and she wasn’t clear about which advisers to see to resolve her questions.
As students in the College of Literature, Science and Arts like Mosley choose their classes for next fall, some feel that their advising needs are not being adequately met by the Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center. Major problems cited by students include long wait times for appointments, over-generalized advice and conflicting information between LSA advisers and concentration advisers.
Tim Dodd, director of the Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center, said that the center isn’t designed to give students guidance specific to their majors, and pointed to concentration advisers as sources of information for specific majors.
“It makes the best sense to train general advisers to know the whole curriculum and the vast array of resources out there,” Dodd said. “A concentration adviser who can give detailed advice about that department’s requirements, internship possibilities and opportunities to participate in that disciplinary and departmental community.”
Dodd said students like Mosley have a variety of advisers they can see, but there is no one contact person for questions specific to double majors.
“Students can and should see all of their assigned advisers — general, first major, second major, minor — as they have questions about certain aspects of their academic program,” he said.
Since LSA undergraduate registration began Monday, students with both single and double majors have reported experiencing frustration with a lack of available advising times as they struggle to schedule their classes.
LSA freshman Charles Markman said that while his adviser was helpful, it was difficult to schedule an appointment.
“I tried to get a hold of her, but was four weeks down the line before I could actually meet with her,” he said.
He said he was also displeased with his adviser’s “strict” e-mail policy — which stipulates he can only ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions via e-mail — especially since he just needed a referral from the adviser to someone else who could answer his questions.
Despite the fact that there is one adviser for every 554 LSA students, Dodd said that Markman’s case is unusual and that most students are able to see an adviser within a few days of their inquiries.
He added that the Advising Center strives to meet the needs of students by working with the LSA Academic Advising Consulting Group — a group made up of 35 students that provides feedback on new advising programs — and the Student Affairs Panel on Academic Advising, the LSA Student Government subcommittee charged with overseeing advising.
“As a result, we are very attuned to student concerns and have made many helpful changes in what we do and how we do it as a result of student participation in our planning and decision making,” he said.
LSA freshman Jordan Bailey, a political science major, said he was able to schedule an appointment to see his adviser within a reasonable amount of time, but it only added to his confusion when he received conflicting advice from his concentration adviser.
“When I went to my political science adviser, he definitely told me about a different path than my LSA adviser,” he said.
Students looking to enter the medical field are faced with the challenge of fulfilling numerous medical school admissions requirements in addition to regular LSA requirements, often without what they describe as sufficient help from advisers specific to the health field.
LSA freshman Keely Browning, who hopes to go to medical school, said she was frustrated by the lack of pre-health advisers.
“Pre-med requirements are hard to fill,” she said. “More specific advising would be really helpful.”
Dodd said he recognizes that there is a shortage in appointments for pre-health students and said he hopes the problem will be rectified next semester by a pre-health resource room where peer advisers will answer questions for students.