Campus Advising Earns High Marks

Most freshmen and sophomores registered satisfaction with their freshman and sophomore advising in the College’s mid-year advising survey, the Advising Programs Office reported at a presentation to the Undergraduate Council yesterday.

More than 90 percent of sophomores are satisfied with their House advising, and between 80 and 90 percent of freshmen found their Peer Advising Fellows helpful and accessible, according to a statement by Associate Dean of Advising Programs Monique Rinere after yesterday’s meeting.

The survey, which solicited student opinion on the freshmen advising program, the Peer Advising Fellows program, and the sophomore advising program, has served as a check-up of sorts for the Advising Programs Office since its inception in 2006. Both the PAF and the sophomore advising program, which delivered overwhelmingly promising results, have been instituted only in the past couple of years.

“It’s very gratifying to have these new programs serving our students so well,” APO Assistant Dean Inge-Lise Ameer said.

The freshman advising program also drew favorable reviews, with most respondents describing their advisers as helpful, accessible, and approachable, according to Rinere.

The response rate among freshman was over 80 percent, while it was only just over 50 percent among sophomores, Rinere said.

The meeting was intended to begin a collaboration between the APO and the Undergraduate Council that would educate the Council on the history of advising.

Despite the glowing figures, at least one of the six UC representatives in attendance remained unconvinced of the survey’s accuracy.

Sarah B. Honig ’10 said she was impressed with the survey results, but added that the statistics might be inflated since the survey was conducted by the administration. Students may have been reluctant to give their advising experience low ratings for fear that their advisers would suffer consequences, Honig said.

“They’re very impressive, but again and again, all we hear anecdotally is how unsatisfied students are with advising,” Honig said. “Something doesn’t seem to match up.”

Senan Ebrahim ’12, another UC representative in attendance, disagreed.

“Overall I felt it was pretty reflective of student opinion,” Ebrahim said.

Not all of the statistics were available on the record.

No major changes are in the works for the Advising Programs Office, but the office is working with the Council and is open to student ideas and advice, Rinere said.

“We absolutely welcome their ideas, their creativity, their participation in everything that we do,” Rinere said.

The UC is brainstorming advising ideas at their meetings this semester and will continue to collaborate with the APO, Honig said.

One of the ideas Honig mentioned was an academic advising center similar to the Office of Career Services or the Bureau of Study Counsel.

Honig added that yesterday’s presentation gave her an appreciation for the progress the APO seemed to have made since making its start three years ago.

“I was surprised to learn about how much has changed since 2006, and how awful the program was,” Honig said.

—Staff writer Danielle J. Kolin can be reached at dkolin@fas.harvard.edu.