Monday, August 22, 2011

Freshman Advising

One of my service tasks that I am scheduled to do this year is freshman advising. At SnowU, they take freshman advising very seriously, whereas I'm not so crazy about it. I mean, apart from the social transition (and that can be a bitch for many students), the actual academic advising portion should be straight forward.

In engineering, unlike the Arts, students have to take 96% of their classes within their major (or general engineering). In other majors, you could have as little as 30% of your classes within that major (think Anthropology, History, or Communications). The one think about Mechanical Engineering that is so nice is you have this great little chart that says "Oh look, these are the 4-5 mandatory courses you have to take. No room for electives." Your decision is already made for you.

As incoming freshman, they don't know this, which is where I guess I come in. And I know things can get more difficult when you factor in skipping classes for AP Calc and Phys, etc. but even then it's not that hard.

So all in all, this shouldn't be so hard. But if you dig a little deeper, there's definitely a flaw with me advising freshman students. It's the blind leading the blind! How am I supposed to advise them on a graduation track that I don't fully understand yet?!? Yes, I should be able to get up to speed very quickly and this will help me get used to the curriculum. But still, I feel like these freshman will be like "Oh yeah, well my advisor doesn't know shit because he just started working here."

Any thoughts/advice/words'o'wisdom for me?


  1. Given you're likely advising engineers, if there is not a pre-requisite flow chart, make one. It helps to sort out the whole AP skipping thing, and lets them be more self-sufficient about the whole thing.

  2. that is a very good idea. I will make one of those.