Fez - As it is known, getting to university is a time of major transition for most students. Having just left high school and trying to enter the academic community make most university students in a state of great change.
Fez – As it is known, getting to university is a time of major transition for most students. Having just left high school and trying to enter the academic community make most university students in a state of great change.
In this respect, a majority of college students change their major because of lack of information and different academic difficulties. These reasons, however, are obstacles in which an academic advisor can assist a student through.
The National Academic Advising Association defines academic advising as “a series of intentional interactions with a curriculum, a pedagogy, and a set of student learning outcomes.” That is to say, academic advising can be defined as a decision-making process which assists students in realizing their maximum educational potential through communication and information exchanges with an advisor.
In this vein, academic advising is provided especially for undergraduate students to help them best integrate into the university. Students are normally assigned advisors within their major. These advisors can be teachers or staff members, and advising can be executed with the help of associations or programs.
“As a part of our every day-life routine, people usually seek advice and support from the people they know, people who may have the good enough experience to help us make sound decisions and make right choices. For students, this need for help and advice is more urgent and necessary as it may give them better advantages in their academic career. usually knowledge builds upon experiences. Academic advisors are trained enough and well experienced to offer students the best possible options in their academic choices,” Abdallah Zbir, a blogger, told MWN.
Academic advisors have many functions and take on many responsibilities. An advisor serves as “a facilitator of communication, a coordinator of learning experiences through course and career planning and an agent of referral to other campus services as necessary.” Astin, A.W. (1977).
Additionally, academic advisers guide students on matters of internships, help in making the system work for them, advise students with disabilities, and advise foreign students who have inherent language and cultural difficulties. Above all, the role of academic advisers is guaranteeing a smooth transition from high school to university or from one major to another.
Mustafa Ettoualy, Financial Aid Officer at Al Akwhayn University and PhD candidate, explains his vision about student advising: “The student is like a boat that needs to be put on the right water on the right time to reach the right bank after knowing thoroughly your boat’s [student] capacities; otherwise, if one puts the wrong boat on the wrong time and wrong water, the result is catastrophic: either the boat will be broken into pieces, or it will reach the shore but on the wrong time and then student’s cargo will be futile. Academic advising is student’s compass to the job market.”
On their part, students also have a set of responsibilities that if taken into account, will help them benefit from academic advising more effectively. It is necessary for advisees to understand the role of their academic adviser, to take the initiative to contact him or her, and to seek help and advice early on the first semester. It is also important for students to attend advising sessions by preparing questions beforehand, bringing appropriate resources or materials, and being ready to clarify their personal values, abilities, interests and goals.
For Ikram Bel Haddioui, a student at Ecole Nationale de Commerce et de Gestion, Settat, “Academic advising must be present throughout the student’s career, because it is considered a direct influencer of their choice. it will provide the maximum of information on online, national and international universities.”
“Nowadays, academic advisors are absent and virtually untraceable. Students base their choices on chance and chart their future path on past experiences of a friend without knowing that skills differ from one person to the other. Therefore, most students drop out their first year because of poor orientation and the great difficulty in their studies,” she added.
Ultimately, students will be asked to evaluate the advising system in order to strengthen and improve it. According to Frost, S. H. (1990, March), “It is also possible to request re-assignment of a different advisor if necessary.”
It is essential for advisees not only to rely on advisors, but also to rely on themselves to become knowledgeable and adhere to institutional policies and procedures. This can be done through using the undergraduate catalogue that is available at the majority of American universities.
There are several ethical issues of advising, one of which being competence. In fact, advisors are meant to offer accurate information to advisees, and in case they are not sure about a given piece of information, it is necessary for them to seek an accurate one before answering student’s questions.
It is also important for advisors to respect the privacy and confidentiality of their advisees. They are not allowed to share or discuss students’ records with any other advisor, professor, parent, or student.
Last but not least, only professional advisor-advisee relations are allowed to develop: there is no room to develop close-relationships. If a given advisee is also a student in their advisor’s class, it is necessary for the advisor to maintain objectivity in treatment and grading.
There are some common challenges for professional advisors, including difficulty in describing their roles, lack of career progression, and above all, lack of professional training and development. In fact, there are few graduate certificates and master’s degree programs tailored to the academic advising field in the U.S.
Academic advisors are often overworked and underpaid. Therefore, one can deduce that academic advising has emerged as a distinctive path within higher education, yet still lacks the fundamental recognition of a professionalized status.
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