Campus advisers offer advice for incoming freshmen
What advice do you have for incoming freshman?
“Utilize the resources that are available to help you on campus. Many students underestimate the differences between navigating high school and navigating college and this can lead to poor performance and a lot of anxiety.”
Kristen Geary, academic adviser for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Office of Career and Academic Services
“Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may not be used to asking others for help but the transition from high school to college in terms of what we expect from you can be quite different from what you experienced in high school … Advocate for yourself and your individual needs and be receptive to advice from people who have successfully adapted to the new learning and social environment so you can do the same.”
Robin Rarick, director of Academic Advising and Student Services for the College of Science
“Meet with your academic adviser at least once per semester and contact them right away with any academic concerns you might have. Get a planner, keep it updated and look at it daily. Schedule all of your assignments and exams in it on the first day of classes (when you get your syllabi). Take classes that personally interest you; don’t just take classes because they’re at a convenient time, because your friend is in it or because you feel like you have to because it fulfills a requirement — there are always many options. Be persistent and proactive with your education.”
Sara Yerger, senior academic advisor for the College of Education
What kinds of resources are available that many do not know about?
“Degree Tracker, Smart Planner, and the Course Catalog. Degree Tracker and Smart Planner are systems developed for students to track their degree progress and plan out their remaining terms to graduation. As a new system, these are not well known amongst the student body and are extremely helpful resources.”
Thomas Dickson, director of student affairs for the College of Nursing
“Instructor office hours. For supplemental instruction, clarification, help on homework questions and test prep, there’s nothing better than going straight to the source. Counseling and Psych Services (CAPS) and Campus Health: trained doctors and professionals there to serve students with physical or emotional ailments. CAPS is a great place to go to talk about any personal problems you may be facing.”
“One resource is academic advisers. I feel academic advisers are underutilized in that students often don’t come see us until things get so bad that they are overwhelmed. Some don’t even come at all. If students made better use of their academic adviser as a starting point for discussing issues that may affect their academics early on, we can help direct them to offices and people on campus that can help right away instead of waiting during the last week of school or even after final grades are posted and the damage is done.”
What is the biggest misconception about freshman year?
“The biggest misconception seems to be that the expectations in college are the same as they were in high school and that the two educational systems are more or less the same. In reality, though, the expectations in college are extremely different from those in most high schools and the way students are taught and tested can be very different in higher education than they are in secondary education.”
“The biggest misconception would be that the freshman year is only about acclimating to college — it should include career exploration. It should be about exploring career options and matching degrees to those career options. Shadowing, interviewing and eventually interning with potential employers in order to understand what the career is really like.”
Dickson“Students seem to think they have to have everything figured out about their career direction by freshman year. I spent my entire youth thinking I absolutely had to be a doctor or my life would have no meaning. I ended up being an architect. The point is that college is about exploration. If you find yourself studying something that you don’t really like after all, make a change.”
Sasha Wilson, undergraduate academic adviser for the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture