Most Students Satisfied with Advising According to Student Council Survey

According to a survey conducted by Student Council and the Andover faculty, most PA students would describe their advising experience as “adequate,” but comparatively few would consider it exemplary. Last week, Student Council distributed an on-line Advising Survey to the student body. The survey was designed to get student feedback on the advising system and how it can be improved. The topic of advising was first discussed at Student Congress on the eve of Andover’s first Advising Day on Saturday, April 30. Seven hundred fifty-nine students responded to the survey. The survey showed that most students were satisfied with advising in its current state, especially in regards to group size, meeting frequency, and meeting times. Eighty-three percent of respondents felt that their advisors were at least adequate, while 29 percent termed called their relationship with their advisers “very good.” The survey showed that most students would like the opportunity to choose their advisers, and about half of the students felt that it was important to have the same advisor every year. Approximately 75 percent of students surveyed felt that the frequency of advising meetings was satisfactory. Forty-one percent of reporting students said that they met with their advisers two to three times per month on average, and the majority of students expressed the opinion that this frequency of advising meetings was the most appropriate. Eighty-four percent of students polled felt that the sizes of advising groups should not be changed. Forty-nine percent of students feel that the most important quality in an adviser is knowledge of PA’s course offerings. Thirty-six percent of respondents felt that the least important asset for an adviser to possess was the ability to make advisees comfortable while discussing personal issues. Survey question 6 was, “If you were experiencing a personal/social problem on campus, with which adult(s) would you talk?” To this question, 44 percent of students surveyed responded that they would first consult their house counselor in such a situation, while only 22 percent of students surveyed would speak to their advisor first. The role of an adviser differs significantly between boarder and day student. “For day students, their adviser is probably their main link to the faculty on campus,” said Student Council President Daniel Adler’05. He continued, “So for them, a strong adviser-student link is probably more important [it would be to a] boarder.” Roughly 125 of the survey respondents expressed complaints about the current advising system, but most of these reflected personal issues the individuals had with their advisers and are not considered to be representative of the Andover advising experience as a whole. The survey expressed a student consensus that Graham House was a useful source for information and consultative services. Many students also commented that Advising Day was useless or inefficient. “The new Advising Day seems like a waste of time; it tires people out and seems unnecessary,” said a student from the class of 2007. Many students seemed to be disappointed at the lack of involvement their advisers have in their day-to-day lives. Adler said, “Sometimes students and parents have unfair expectations of advisers and their roles in the student’s life.”