Lauren Hertzler gave advising a second try after a poor group experience.
Being a new student at Temple prompts new responsibilities for everyone.
“Shouldn’t Dad just be doing this?” is what I, along with some other freshman students, thought when first choosing classes for next semester.
For other freshmen, the thought results in pure laziness. For me, this was solely a feeling of uncertainty. I needed guidance, and apparently, such a thing exists in advising departments on Main Campus.
“I took the same class twice and never even knew until I met with an adviser,” Melissa Hersh, a 2007 Temple graduate, said. “You really have to stay on top of your classes at such a large school and take the initiative to seek help from advisers as often as possible.”
I decided to see an adviser for the first time two weeks ago to help me sort out my class schedule. I made an appointment at the School of Communications and Theater and two days, met with Kathy Peters, an academic adviser. She took me in right on time, and we discussed my current classes, next year’s classes, study abroad options and the possibility of a double major. Peters was very helpful, and I felt relieved once I left the advising session. But if I hadn’t walked in to Annenberg Hall to schedule an advising appointment, I would still be uncertain, confused and lost while scheduling my classes.
“It is more of a responsibility for the student rather than the advisers to reach out for help,” freshman university studies major Emily Andrewson said. “It is an overwhelming experience for a freshman, though.”
Prior to registering for classes for the Spring, freshmen at Temple met with their advisers once at freshman orientation, which is held as a group advising session – an overwhelming experience. Placed in front of a computer, I had to schedule a semester of classes I wasn’t familiar with while one or two advisers paced the room, attempting to help some 30 to 40 students at once.
The group advising session made me nervous to meet with an adviser again – something the advising department should keep in mind when planning freshman orientations. Such a startling session may be why some students steer clear of advising offices throughout their time at Temple, even if upon a second meeting, advisers may actually be helpful.
Andrewson and I, as well as many others, have felt the confusion that accompanies figuring out where and how to make an appointment with an adviser, because it is not clearly advertised. There should be signs around campus telling students where to go for advising – it is an important aspect of attending a large learning institution – and professors in entry-level classes should encourage students to visit advisers. I only discovered through word of mouth that all I had to do to schedule an appointment was call or physically go to the advising office.
Most schools have walk-in sessions as well.
“I chose to speak with my adviser by a walk-in appointment,” Kevin Walsh, a civil engineering freshman said. “The adviser was confusing at times because it was all new to me, but he was very helpful in the end.”
Don’t let what other people say about the advisers at Temple negatively influence your mindset. Students who complain have probably not put forth the effort to go see an adviser. Also, advisers may differ from school to school. An advising experience at your friend’s school will be different than a session at your own.
Go get help. It was probably one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve made all year. Temple advisers are knowledgeable – to be an adviser, he or she must have a Master’s degree – and work very hard at their jobs. It is unfortunate that they can’t personally reach out to individual students, but what can you expect with a university as big as Temple?
Do your part, and advisers will meet you halfway.
Lauren Hertzler can be reached at email@example.com.