Advisers, Mentors Keep Students Onpath to Success

Article excerpt

Have you ever traveled to a foreign country where you don't speak the language? The entire experience can be disorienting.

Figuring out how to navigate the environment, order food at a restaurant or even use an automated teller machine can be frustrating. For some students, going to college is equally foreign.

Students coming to college directly from a high school setting that is mostly regimented, with fewer choices and a clear path to completion, can be overwhelmed. Adult students also face challenges, as they have been out of school for some time and are not used to juggling classwork, homework, and family and work obligations.

The freedom of college is liberating for many new students, but without expert guidance and good advice, this freedom can lead students to make choices that can delay their chances of earning a college degree, as well as possibly wasting thousands of dollars on unnecessary coursework.

Every college has its own deadlines, paperwork and forms, academic majors, degree and certificate options, and a whole host of other decisions for students to consider.

Terry O'Banion, president emeritus of the League for Innovation in the College, highlighted the critical nature of academic advising in a recent article in the Community College Journal.

"Academic advising is the second-most important function in the community college," he wrote. "If it is not conducted with the utmost efficiency and effectiveness, the most important function -- instruction -- will fail to ensure that students navigate the curriculum to completion."

Community college students can face a particularly broad array of choices in their educational journey. …