More students meet with advisors, but few get the help they need – study
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More students meet with advisors, but few get the help they need – study

More students meet with advisors, but few get the help they need – study

Students today are more likely than ever before to visit a college advisor but the added facetime hasn’t always been fruitful as not all are coming away feeling satisfied, a recent survey has found.

According to the survey by the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) at the University of Texas at Austin, 78 percent of respondents have met with an advisor before, but with varying levels of success.

Of those who met with advisors, 65 percent claimed the advisor “helped them develop an academic plan.”

The survey analyzed responses from over 90,000 returning students from 188 community colleges in the US, as well as approximately 40,000 college freshman at 94 institutions.

Executive Director of CCCSE Evelyn Waiwaiole acknowledged there is still work to do to ensure students find the visits worthwhile, however, claimed the growing numbers of students using the services are a good sign.

“I don’t know if we could say [78 percent of students saw an advisor] a decade ago,” Waiwaiole told Ed Surge. “That’s a new experience that is beginning to happen, and we are reaching more students.”

However, students who do attend are not being encouraged often enough to return. The survey found 65 percent of students said their advisor did not suggest a follow-up appointment.

So, following an appointment where the student was most likely unable to form an academic plan and not encouraged to return, it seems unlikely a second visit would be on the cards.

Waiwaiole claimed the advisors must be ready to take on what students have to say and encourage them to open up and use the services more.

“We need to begin to equip and prepare advisors to have more in-depth conversations [with students],” she said.

It is mandatory to meet with an advisor at many colleges

One of the reasons why visits to advisors are on the rise is because many institutions have now made it a requirement for students to do so in order to register for a course. It can also be a necessity for new students to enable them to enrol at the college in the first place.

At colleges where meeting with an advisor isn’t mandatory, students are often persuaded to go in other ways such as incentives, including giveaways and raffles.

Technology allows advisors to identify students who need help

New technology uses predictive analytics to allow educators and advisors to see which students may be in need of extra support. However, the researchers chose to omit data from students involved in technological targeting.

Waiwaiole told Ed Surge the data was left out because most of the technology used for this focuses on the advisor, not the student, so it may not be relevant.

“Tech is a new conversation in advising, but students don’t always know there are these new tools that advisors are using,” Waiwaiole said.

“Not all, but many tools are there to aid the advisors, and we are trying to understand the student experience,” she explained.

Athletes visit advisors more often than their peers

Student-athletes were the most likely to engage in in-depth conversation with an advisor – and to return – according to the study. However, they were also the most likely to be required by the college to attend an advisory meeting.

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A key problem with the current advisory service system in the US is there simply aren’t enough advisors.

A 2013 study from the National Academic Advising Association found across four-year colleges in the US, the median ratio for academic advisors to students was 296 to one, and at two-year colleges, the gap was even wider, with 441 students to every one advisor.

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