Out of the many campus resources available to students, advisers are among the most important, yet the most underutilized.
Mrs. Rebecca Weier, director of First-year Experience, said advisers can help students make their college years a success.
“I think in college, [advisers] can help [students] by helping them make the most of the time that they’ve set aside in their life,” Weier said. “It’s time they’re not going to get back, so how can they best use that time while they’re here?”
Miss Jane Smith, director of the Center for Advising and Career Services, said advising is one of the most important services they offer. Advisers assist with everything from deciding on classes within a major to deciding on an internship or graduate program.
“Your adviser should really be the person you go to for advice concerning your career,” Smith said.
Understanding the types of advisers and their purposes are essential in order for students to get the most from their advisers. There are three types of advisers at BJU: first-year advisers/academic coaches, the transition adviser and faculty advisers.
The first-year advisers are trained academic coaches who help guide freshmen during their first year of college. Many students come into college unsure of how to adjust to campus life and how to excel in their classes. These academic coaches should be the go-to person for first-year students adjusting to the university environment.
“I think the biggest change we’ve seen this year is students are in and out of that advising office all the time,” Smith said. Freshmen are able to talk with their coaches about academic issues they are experiencing. The coaches will refer students to the writing center or help them find a tutor or study group.
The transition adviser, the second type of adviser at BJU, aids in decision making for students considering changing their major. Before students change majors, they are referred to Mrs. Paula Watts, the transition adviser.
Students needing confirmation that they are in the right field of study can go to Watts, who will talk with them about their plans for that particular field of study. “My goal is to ensure that they enjoy and love what they do in their service for the Lord,” Watts said.
Other students who may be struggling in their major can go to Watts for alternative major options that may better suit them. She can assess the students’ grades and evaluate their strengths and interests to help find where they can be most successful.
Transfer students can also go to Watts, located in the Academic Resource Center, for any help they may need in adjusting to life at a new university.
The final type of adviser is the faculty adviser. Faculty advisers are experts in their field. For some students, faculty advisers are often utilized only when students need their semester schedule approved. But the role of the faculty adviser is much broader.
“What I want is for [students] to build a relationship with that adviser,” Smith said. “I would suggest that you really develop a relationship with your faculty adviser, and that you talk to them regularly.” Students needs to be in a mentor relationship with their advisers.
The faculty adviser should be the go-to person for academic questions, plans for after graduation, internship opportunities and grad school decisions. “I feel like the faculty adviser is really the best qualified to do that,” Smith said.
Students are provided with real-world connections for life after college through their advisers.
“The advisers also have a network out there, and they know where some of their graduates have gone,” Smith said.