UConn students rate experiences with academic advisors

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UConn has offered majors regarding agriculture since 1881 when the school opened up as Storrs Agricultural School. Virtual meetings with UConn academic advisors in particular can be either a struggle to adapt to or a chance to more comfortably meet with advisors. Instructions on scheduling advising appointments can be found on the UConn advising website.  Photo by Erin Knapp / The Daily Campus.

Students at the University of Connecticut are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in all aspects of their academic life. Virtual meetings with UConn academic advisors in particular can be either  a struggle to adapt to or a chance to more comfortably meet with advisors.  

Mikayla Williams, a second semester geoscience major, said that she has no negative experiences with her advisor, but as a freshman, student major advising can be difficult.  

“While meeting over Webex, it is difficult to connect with an advisor and develop the same kind of connection you might have with them in person,” Williams said.  

Elizabeth Farrenkoph, a second semester nursing student, believes that she would have a better experience without virtual meetings, despite her good relationship with her advisor.  

“I really like my advisor, but getting acclimated to online meetings is difficult,” Farrenkoph said. “She does a good job under the circumstances.” 

On the UConn Advising website, a list of subject matters students are recommended to discuss with their advisors is given.  

“I really like my advisor, but getting acclimated to online meetings is difficult … She does a good job under the circumstances.” 

Elizabeth Farrenkoph, Second semester nursing student

“General education requirements, major requirements, course planning,” the website states. “Note though that no single advisor has expertise in all the areas you may wish to explore. But advisors can help direct you to other resources on campus.” 

Some students find virtual meetings with their advisors to be enjoyable and even easier to manage than in person advice meetings.  

Shanti Amin, a fourth semester human and family development and human rights double major, said that she finds it easier to work online.  

“I’m switching majors. The advisor I had was from the major I want, allied health, was great. It’s easier to talk to someone via a video call, vs. face to face,” Amin said. “In person, I get nervous and forget what I have to say. There are more resources available online.”  

Carson Swick, fourth semester junior double majoring in journalism and political science, gave his advisor, Marie Shanahan, a journalism associate department head and an associate professor, a high rating. 

“On a scale of one to ten, nine or ten. Marie Shanahan has been really good,” Swick said. 

Some students rarely speak with their academic advisors, and when they do, the meetings can feel rushed and inflexible.  

Jasmine Johnson, a second semester mechanical engineering major, said that her experiences with her academic advisor have been limited and slightly constrained.  

“The meetings are so outlined. There’s not much freedom,” Johnson said. “My advising sessions were quick and the classes were picked for me. The gen-eds were basically prescribed to me without my input.” 

Instructions on scheduling advising appointments can be found on the UConn advising website.  

“To find out how your advisor schedules appointments or what their office hours are, go to the department website,” the website states. “Typically this information is found under such headings as ‘Contact Us,’ ‘Faculty’ or similar. If you cannot find the information on the website, email your advisor or go to the main department office and ask.” 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Eric Wang / The Daily Campus.

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