Advisors ease students into and out of college

By Usman Ahmed

Exams are over. Grades are due. Members of the Class of 2004 are one step closer to graduating and officially ending their college careers. While the other students in the college are locking themselves up in their libraries of choice, seniors are celebrating their last week of college in the same fashion that they began it in the fall of 2000. The Class of 2004, like all entering students, began college by arriving early for a special week of activities for bright-eyed first-years known as O-Week. In between making new friends, getting lost in Hyde Park, and exploring Chicago, one of the most important activities for members of the Class of 2004 during that unique time was meeting with their advisers for the first time to plan their college career.

The Dean of Students Office assigns advisors to entering students who will work with the students throughout their college years. A student’s relationship with his or her adviser is one of the most important relationships to be built in college. The college adviser serves as both a guide and an advocate for students, steering them toward the countless opportunities available to them, and keeping them away from the many perils that may befall them during their time in college.

Students typically work with the same adviser during their four years at the College. A college adviser’s primary responsibility is to support students as they begin to tackle the range of decisions that they will make during college. This includes helping students pursue their academic interests and plan their program of study within the curriculum guidelines of the College.

Advisers also provide students with information on the wide variety of educational opportunities available inside and outside of college. This includes making suggestions about and providing students with recommendations for awards, jobs, or internships.

Finally, advisers are a source of assistance for personal problems. They can listen to student concerns, discuss difficulties with family and friends, and suggest study strategies.

Maria Carillo, a college adviser, said she makes sure to talk to her fourth-years about life after college and discuss concerns over entering the academic or working world. “I try to be as supportive and encouraging as possible, as well as congratulatory,” she said.

The strength of a student’s relationship with his or her adviser rests on several factors. While students are required to meet with their advisers each quarter as first-years, and then only once a year during subsequent years, the strongest relationships are built over additional meetings. Albertus Horsting, a fourth-year in the College concentrating in Classics, said that he began meeting with his adviser more frequently during his third-year to prepare his applications to graduate school. He said his adviser was able to help him with scholarships and approving coursework at other universities. He added that his adviser was very helpful in guiding him through college.

The degree of help students are able to obtain from advisers also depends on the interests of the student. Some advisers specialize in specific vocations, such as law or medicine. Luke Shepard, a fourth-year concentrating in computer science, said that while his adviser was helpful during his first two years in college, he increasingly began to seek advise from his department. Shepard added that while this was the case, he was still happy with his adviser. “My adviser is a very nice person. He cares about me and makes time to talk,” he said.