October 24, 2013
As a sophomore who plans on majoring in the subject area that my academic advisor specializes in, I do not have anything to complain about regarding the academic advising process here at Hamilton. I see my advisor on a daily basis, as he is one of my professors. However, I recognize that this is not true for all of my peers, many of whom were randomly assigned advisors in departments that do not reflect their interests. The administration sees, too, how this method of pairing might be ineffective and plans to implement changes to the first-year academic planning process which will adress the problem of mismatched advisors and advisees. The new system will allow incoming first-years to choose their fall courses over the summer, before they even arrive at Hamilton, instead of choosing courses one to two days before the semester begins. Each first-year will be matched with a professor from one of those courses for advising.
This system will definitely be much better in terms of stress for new students because they will know what classes they are taking when they arrive at college,eliminating an unnecessary element of surprise and uncertainty. I remember looking at a list of courses over the summer that I might have the opportunity to enroll in, but my schedule would not be certain until the fall. While this list helped me to narrow down my class choices, I was still indecisive about what I was going to take up until I actually registered. Also, some of the class options changed from the time that I saw the list to when I actually registered in the fall. Under the new system, students would have more time to choose courses and would not be as frantic to register as incoming first-years typically are (or at least I was).
Also, knowing about classes beforehand will allow students to order or rent their textbooks, extinguishing another worry. It would have been especially helpful for me if I had been able to order textbooks before arriving on campus because I was not old enough as an incoming first-year to own a credit card, and HillCards are not accepted when renting textbooks. Both of these factors made the entire textbook process much more difficult than it should have been.
Lastly, I feel that this system is better because new students will not choose classes based on what their new friends are taking, but rather they will select classes that seemingly interest them.Hamilton has an open curriculum for this reason—so students can explore their passions—and pressures from friends can sometimes serve as a limitation.
This new system also includes an improvement in terms of academic advising. If new students interact with their academic advisors on a daily basis, there will probably be a closer relationship between student and advisor, rendering the entire process easier as the advisor will be more accessible.
Overall, it is evident that this new academic advising and course policy should be adopted as soon as possible. It will make registration and the first few months of college much more easy and enjoyable.