Advising Office struggles to keep up with growth

By: Delaney Williams

Guest Writer

Tarleton State University students say they were unable to graduate on time because they were misinformed during academic advising sessions. 

Junior Layla Jones says she is graduating a year later than expected because she was misinformed by her academic advisor.

“I did exactly what the advisor told me my first two or three semesters at Tarleton,” Jones said. “When I finished my basics and started seeing a faculty advisor I was shocked to learn that almost a whole semester of classes I’d taken wouldn’t count towards my degree even though I only took classes I was advised to take.” 

Senior Sam Mars said he has taken advising into his own hands after receiving misinformation from his assigned advisor.

“I know you have to officially meet with an advisor so they don’t place a hold on your account but I always research and have a plan before I meet with anyone,” Mars said. “I learned the hard way I need to check my DegreeWorks before meeting with an advisor. I now also talk to a professor in my department before I officially register for anything.” 

Mars fears the student population has grown but the Office of Academic Advising has not. 

According to Tarleton’s website, enrollment for spring 2022 was up 6.46% compared to spring 2021. The website also states Tarleton currently has more than 14,000 enrolled students. 

“Every student is unique and has different advising needs so there needs to be more people so each student gets the attention and help they need. College is too expensive to take unnecessary classes,” Mars said.

The Advising Office is currently working on a way to better reach students.

“We have been very fortunate to have support from President Hurley to hire additional advisors. Tarleton also received a substantial grant to hire one advisor for each college on the Stephenville campus. This has made our caseloads manageable and given us the ability to be much more responsive,” Director of Advising Dr. Melody Loya said.

All students are assigned an advisor by the Office of Academic Advising based on their major. Each college has between two or three advisors responsible for advising all students within the college. 

When asked how Tarleton could make advising better, Jones said, “I think the university needs to hire more advisors so they actually have time to help each student.”

According to Loya, there are currently 27 advisors across all Tarleton campuses, and each advisor is responsible for 300-450 students. 

“We are definitely way ahead of where we were a year ago, but as Tarleton reorganizes some colleges, additional help might be needed,” she said.

Ultimately, academic advising is required for all students who want to register for classes. Without a knowledge of each student’s special requirements and goals, advisors are struggling to keep up with the demand of the student population.  

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