The benefit of university advising centers

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Students walk on BYU campus between class breaks. (Rebecca Sumsion)

Editor’s note: this story pairs with “Limited enrollment programs and picking a major”

College students can enhance their own success and save time and money by using their university’s advisement resources, according to a Missouri State University study.

Having an academic advising office as part of a university can play an important part in improving the student’s experience and success while in college.

Professors at Missouri State University’s Psychology Department conducted a study that found meeting with an advisor “contributed to student responsibility, student self-efficacy, student study skills and perceived support.” The study also found that advising had positive effects on freshman to help them successfully navigate their college experience.

“The levels to which advisors are available to students, actually meet with them and provide them with assistance and support are clearly linked to factors demonstrated to predict student success,” states the report. “Overall, academic advising can vitally impact all facets of a student’s academic experience, ranging from development of self-efficacy to practical applications of study skills.”

In addition, students who decide on a major early in their academic careers save time and money by cutting out classes that may not move them toward graduation. BYU has a central academic advising center for general queries and to help with students who are exploring what they’d like to major in and pursue for a career. There are also additional advisors within specific departments to help majors, and sometimes pre-majors, successfully meet their program requirements.

BYU advisors in the central advising center familiarize themselves with training regarding career resources and career personality inventories, according to academic advisor Keith Proctor. Advisors can then use those resources to help students know what opportunities are available to them. Longer appointments at the advisement center are spent with students who have taken the career tests and are interpreting the results with an advisor who has knowledge about the specific career theories and learning theories.

“Here at our office we do a pretty in-depth major and career exploration process with students to help them become more self-aware of their personality, career interests and their values,” Proctor said. “Then we try to identify opportunities in the future that will align with those pretty well. After that process where they’ve learned more about themselves and the different opportunities available to them, they usually have a pretty good idea of what they want and how to get there.”

Utah State University differs from BYU in the fact that it has a decentralized advising system where assignments are made by the major. But there still exists the Exploratory Advising Office for those who are undecided.

“Student choice is at the center of academic advising at Utah State University,” said University Advising Director Mykel Beorchia. “Our mission is to provide students with the information they need to make academic decisions consistent with their goals.”

Making resources available to help students in their college experience is also a primary objective for advisement centers. They often work closely with university career centers and implement programs for student success. One example of a program to help students improve their college experience is the University of Utah’s BlockU.

BlockU is a program designed to help students maximize their learning by integrating learning experiences into their education, according to the BlockU website. Students enroll in 15 credit semesters that include a couple of BlockU specific classes. The BlockU semesters help students develop good study habits and enable personal access to advisors, mentors and librarians. BlockU is just one way that students can help get adjusted into college coursework at the beginning of their college career.

More information about the advising centers for BYU, Utah State University, University of Utah and Utah Valley University can be found below.

Brigham Young University Advisement Center

Utah State University Advising

Utah Valley University Advising

University of Utah Advising

 

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