The advising survival guide

Since the start of freshman year every student at Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) declares a major and they are assigned a faculty advisor in the department or program the student is applying for. However, if your are an undeclared student the office of Advising Support Center would assigned you an experienced advisor that would guide students to options that they are interested in. Freshman students are required to meet with their advisors every semester to review and obtain their midterm grades, get their PIN number, and guide them with registration process. Students can also ask any other questions about their time here at Saint Joe’s. Furthermore, the advising center always suggest to all students to meet with their advisors to be sure everything is on track. 

College of Arts and Sciences advising center located in Barbelin Hall
Photo taken by Kira Chick

Problems arise because most of these advisors are also employed as professors at SJU and have to take up their office hours for other students that are not actually in their classes.  In fact, 52% of the professors on campus are only adjuncts, which means they are not here full time and teach at many different schools.  This adds to the number of students they have to look out for, not even counting the ones who they must advise.  It’s almost insane to expect someone to know what classes a student should take when they have so many other things on their plate. Kate Eltringham, a professor here, expressed: “Being an adjunct professor is like being a woman in an abusive relationship who doesn’t go for the divorce because she wants to hold the family together for the sake of the children. I do it for the sake of my students, as do many adjuncts. But there is no doubt that this system is abusive and that many full-time faculty and administrators are complicit in it. The universities have sold out to corporate interests, and have become governmental sycophants, which means that they are pushing talent away. The least talented, most willing to conform and obey will stay and let themselves be cucked.” This should not be acceptable in this university! Making students go to an advisor that isn’t focused on the needs of the student or doesn’t have an understanding of how the system works should not be the norm.

Most students that we have talked to have had some problems with their advisors. Since freshman year they have had to trek the college path by themselves which means there is key information that is being lost. We asked students what they wished they knew as a freshman that would have been helpful while deciding their future here at Saint Joe’s.  Anna Pirolli, a junior, expresses “I wish that it was more clear which classes had overlays. For example I would be told one class cancels 2 requirements but by then when it is way too late and then I hear that this situation was not the case. There was a misunderstanding/miscommunication.” Also, other students expressed that they understand that advisors should have basic knowledge on other majors or have some other source they can ask. Not all advisors take the time to set up a page of resources for students and some only have a basic understanding of the requirements for students.  For those who have multiple majors, it is difficult sometimes because the advisor only knows how to help  for that one specific major and other students have two different advisors and have to shuffle between the two.  Since many students are encountering these difficulties we have some tips below to try and make your college career and little more easy to navigate.

Talk with an upper classmate or friends from your same major

Students should talk to upperclassmen of their major because they would help students to know what classes to register on and what are the best professor to take. 

Look for a professor that you feel comfortable to talk to

Students can ask the professor  about any situation with another teacher of a class and how to handle in the proper way. Also, he may give you tips about anything related to the university process (like registration, where are the offices or buildings, etc). 

If you have a minor or double major

Students who have two majors or a minor might need to see two advisors if they’re in different colleges.  This could lead to a lot of confusion and it is imperative that you stay organized. Students must do research behind the scenes so you can help your two advisors figure out your schedule together. Go to the advising center website, of the major or minor, and look for the classes you must take. Then, go right to the advising center of the major/minor and schedule an appointment to ask your questions. The advising centers always know more than your advisor.

Looking for classes for next semester

General Class Search

Students can go to the advisor center website and look for the registration help page so they can be more organized throughout the year. They say the upcoming dates for registration, and registration planning and tools. Also when seeing what classes are available students can go to the classes and registration tab on the nest and go down the page to “general class search”.  Once clicked, it will take you to a page where you can look up a class by subject. If you want to know which classes fulfill overlays go to the drop down menu next to special interest and find the overlay that you wish to fulfill. If you are looking at a class and you don’t know what requirements it fills, click on the highlighted blue number next to the class and it will give you a course description.

Degreeworks

This is a great tool that many students don’t use or don’t know how to use.  If you need help go right to your colleges advising center and get a quick rundown.  You can see the classes that you need to take and the ones you have taken so far. If you have majors in different colleges you can see each major by going to the drop down menu at the top under “degree” and change BBA to a BA or vice versa.


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