Opinion | Students, advisors should work towards same academic goals
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 23:02
For seniors planning to leave Miami University in May, today is the final day to apply for graduation. Many seniors, including those on the editorial board, have spent the past week in a panic while trying to decipher our Degree Audit Reports (DARs) and figure out if we will indeed be allowed to graduate.
Advisors and individual DARs are supposed to help students of all grade levels keep track of requirements for their majors within their four years at Miami. However, DARs are often difficult to read and extremely overwhelming, especially if students have more than one major to keep track of.
Even more frustrating, students often feel that their advisors are struggling just as much to make sense of the DARS, and thus cannot provide advice.
The Miami Student editorial board believes that while students are accountable for keeping up with their requirements, advisors and DARs should help them adequately reach their end goal: a successful graduation. This reflects not just a Miami problem, but one at universities everywhere.
Unanimously, members of the editorial board had experienced confusion over a DAR (especially since all but one of us has more than one major) and frustration when seeking help from an advisor. Students shouldn’t feel a sense of dread when trying to figure out how to graduate, nor should they mistrust those who are in a position to help them do so. However, both of these issues seem to be the case more often than not.
Nearly a year ago, Associated Student Government passed the ‘Advising Act’ that includes the creation of a “What if” DAR, which allows students to see the courses they would take if they were to change their major or minor, mandatory meetings with an advisor for first-years and sophomores, a more centralized advising system and the creation of a general bulletin for post-secondary enrollment students who are completing university requirements before becoming full-time students at Miami.
The bill now sits in a University Senate committee, awaiting action. It’s obvious that students are aware of the challenges and shortcomings of the university advising system, as well as the importance it has in the college experience. Now, it is up to Miami to address these problems.
Failure to accurately and completely fulfill requirements – often as the result of misreading a DAR – can be a costly mistake. One of the most frustrating experiences for a Miami student is taking a class intended to fulfill a Miami Plan requirement and realizing later that it counts for nothing. Frustrating, and expensive.
Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to figure out what they need to be successful here at Miami. But it isn’t something we should have to do alone.