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EDITORIAL: Time to take advantage: Use academic advising to graduate on time


Senior office specialist Angela Massaway, left, helps Evart junior Courtney Sheldon Aug. 15 in the Student Services Court at the University Center.

Let’s go back to 2013. The ratio of Central Michigan University students to academic advisers was 1,200 to one. 

There was a glaring need for academic guidance for students who were struggling with choosing classes or deciding what general education classes fulfilled degree qualifications. 

Students had been complaining about the shortage of academic advisers for years. Central Michigan Life published an editorial that year expressing the importance of academic advising. As we wrote in 2013, it can affect the timely graduation of thousands of students. We called on CMU to step up and provide enough advisers to meet the demand for help. 

In 2014, the university added five new advising positions. It cut the student-to- academic adviser-ratio in half. This year, there are more academic advisers, counselors and success coaches than ever. 

Take advantage of them. 

Trust us – problems will arise. Everything will be on track until you try to register and three of your planned five classes are already full of upperclassmen. 

If you want to get out of here in four years, you must plan your academic career with an adviser. Their expertise is worth it. Working with an adviser is even more crucial for freshmen and sophomores who may start taking more classes geared to their majors. 

There is no excuse to not take advantage of these resources. It can be the difference between graduating on time with your peers or having to return to Mount Pleasant for another costly semester.  

The $225 Student Service Fee introduced last fall is helping provide these resources. Twenty five percent of the funds collected through that fee go to support academic advising. 

Now, we aren't necessarily fans of the $225 fee. In fact, we will point out that as tuition-paying students we expect the university to provide effective, available academic advising. But they didn't, for years. At least students are finally able to receive the help they need. 

We all should be fans of academic success and graduating on time. 

Last week, we published a story in our “Freshman Orientation” advice section explaining the difference between a success coach and academic adviser. Both serve useful purposes, but we urge you to reread that story so you can go to the right place to get your questions answered. 

Academic advisers help with academic planning – think things like course selection, major/minor requirements and the Career Development Center. 

A success coach helps students improve their academic performance. They come in when students are struggling with grades, are failing classes, and to suggest study and time management strategies. 

These were important services students wished they had in the past. 

Take advantage of them now.