Students achieving success with professional academic advisors

First-year advisors ease the transition to college. After a student’s freshman year, a student is either matched with a faculty advisor or a professional advisor.

“First-year advisors help students choose a major that makes sense for them individually,” Christy Osborne, first-year academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences, said.

The first-year advising center’s advisors help students explore their interests and put them on the right path to success.

“When I started at SDSU 17 years ago, these positions didn’t exist,” said Jason Zimmerman, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “They definitely help deal with student issues more effectively.”

First-year advisors and professional advisors both aid in the success of students while at college. Professional advisors are able to assist with petitions students submit through the dean’s office. They also help match students’ schedules to their interests. Professional advisors know where to refer students when they are unable to help, and if there are errors in schedules, the professional advisor can assist.

Scott Simons, sophomore economics major, has benefited from this change in SDSU’s advising system.

“I came in as undecided, but my first-year advisor was great and helped me figure out what I wanted in a degree program,” Simons said. “Now I have a professional advisor and it’s fantastic; my advisor has helped me become successful in both academic and nonacademic endeavors.”

In addition to advising students, professional advisors also provide support to faculty advisors. Jessica Lewis, a professional advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “When faculty advisors have issues with their advisee’s curriculum, they may call professional advisors to help resolve the issues.”

“Professional advisors have professional training support and they’re more accustomed to the problems that students encounter versus faculty advisors,” Zimmerman said.

“Faculty advisors really aid with the job market and outlooks for jobs,” Zimmerman continued. “Professional advisors understand the curriculum and can aid in helping students select classes.”

But advising is so much more than building a schedule, according to Lewis.

One of Lewis’s most rewarding experiences was getting to attend an art show from a graduating transfer student. Lewis and the student had to combine her coursework from her transfer school with that of SDSU so that she could meet graduation requirements.

“It’s personal experiences like that which make the job great,” Lewis said.

Kelli Garry

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