Reports of Academic Advisement Confusion Prompt Possible Solutions

Advisement Center Undergoes Improvement


Lilith Greta Meyer

Advisor Jennifer Luo and front desk support Johnny Benitez discuss the appointment schedule.

Lilith Greta Meyer, Staff Reporter

Things are finally looking up, after student advisement centers have been the reason for frustration among students and advisors alike for months. Associated Students Incorporated announced plans to reach out to students in order to figure out what exactly needs to be changed, while the centers are working on internal improvements.

According to advisor Jennifer Luo, Cal State LA’s switch from academic quarter to semester system in 2016 still causes confusion. This led to students being given incorrect information when consulting academic advisors.

Along with this, the increasing numbers of enrolled students, documented in Cal State LA’s fact sheets, are leaving the centers swamped with appointments. As they fail to meet the growing demand for advising sessions, students have to wait several months for appointments with their assigned advisors.

“There were three advisors assigned to me but none of them were available for the next three months, so I met with someone who was not my advisor,” freshman Ashley Chetla, who was looking into changing her major, recalled. “They’re very hurry-up-get-out. The advisor gave me a bunch of websites with quizzes that tell me what major I should take and that was it. The appointment only lasted about five minutes.”

In some cases, students are turned away without ever even getting the chance to speak to an advisor. The front desks are run by student assistants who are not trained to handle students’ unique situations, according to Luo, who is an advisor at the University Academic Advisement Center (UAAC).

“Depending if the student [assistant] is properly trained, they could potentially give out information that is inaccurate. Sometimes, the student may only be half trained,” said Luo. She stated that, in order to maintain a level of consistency, UAAC will be making sure that a full-time member of staff or a coordinator is present at the front desk at all times.

Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) has also been cooperating with the Directors of Student Success and Advising, trying to identify and resolve the issues. According to ASI Senator Diana Chavez, the new director of the Natural and Social Sciences Academic Advisement Center (NSS) has developed a schedule which guarantees an equal number of advisors to provide walk-ins as well as scheduled appointments at all times.

In a collaborative effort, ASI and the Directors are trying to provide more advisement resources for students. According to a statement from Michelle Hawley, associate vice president and dean of undergraduate studies,”The Directors are […] collaborating with ASI on several priorities, including developing a sophomore year advising program.”

In the coming weeks, ASI will also be conducting a survey to find out exactly what changes the students would like to see. “Each center is different. The survey will help us work out what the issues for each individual centers are,” said Chavez.