Why do Georgia State students get new advisors every semester?

Academic Adviser Tori Misudek and University Advisement Center Director Carol Cohen explain the graduation system that they hope will help academic advisers catch students who are falling behind before it is too late. Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal

Like many Georgia State students, I have fought with our University Advisement Center my entire college career. The system is flawed top to bottom. Georgia State advisement is in desperate need of rebuilding.

My freshman year advisor told me that I needed to add chemistry to my course schedule, a class for which I had already earned credits through the corresponding AP courses and was not required for my major. After a whole month of arguing and having my emails ignored, I had to contact the dean to resolve my issue.

When I needed to change my major during my sophomore year, my new advisor did not assign my credits properly; this caused me to take three classes unnecessarily, pushed my graduation back by a semester and damaged my GPA.

Currently, I’m trying to move my graduation forward one semester, and having very little luck. My previous advisor told me to wait until the last two weeks of last semester, and when I attempted to contact her, she ignored my emails for weeks. I’ve since been assigned a new advisor, and she has told me to wait until after the end of this semester.

Unfortunately, my troubling experiences with Georgia State advisors are not unique. On the official Georgia State subreddit, turtleneck9 said that they’ve been trying to contact their advisor for over a week and “she hasn’t responded to a single email.”

Alanna Adkisson transferred to Georgia State in 2018 and said she’s had around six advisors so far. Adkisson has also had the unfortunate experience of advisors being condescending and unprofessional.

“I’ve made appointments with advisors weeks in advance only to arrive at the advisement office the day of the meeting and told that they won’t be able to attend,” she said. “I know they have more on their plates than we know, especially since the pandemic, but I can’t help but feel that most of the advisors don’t really care.”

It isn’t difficult to see how, from a student’s perspective, the advisement system as it stands simply doesn’t work. We see the effects of poor advisement. To remedy this issue, our university should consider using a method that is proven to lead to student success.

The National Academic Advising Association has developed the Academic Advisement Core Competencies Model, which states that successful academic advisors must be fluent in three areas of expertise: conceptual, relational and informational.

An advisor’s conceptual knowledge must include various strategies for advisement and expected outcomes.

Their relational knowledge must include building relationships and rapport with their students, engaging in ongoing assessment of their students academic goals and promoting student understanding of their path and curriculum.

Finally, an advisor’s informational knowledge must include degree programs, curriculum and all academic requirements and options.

Since Georgia State’s advisors are assigned to new students every semester, they have little investment in each individual’s college path and are more likely to make mistakes. 

Miscounting credits would pose as more of a concern to an advisor had they gotten to know the student and invested in their success. Each advisor must be knowledgeable of most major pathways within their college instead of specializing in a handful of them, making those mistakes more common.

For the well-being of our student body, Georgia State needs a change. Stop giving us new advisors every semester.