A case for academic advising

By Henry Shorr

Registration for the spring semester is now open for all Youngstown State University students. Students can schedule their classes through the Penguin Portal and it is recommended they meet with an adviser before scheduling.

There are many benefits to meeting with an adviser before scheduling classes.  

Sandi Pendleton, an academic adviser at Williamson College of Business Administration, laid out some of these benefits.

“There are a lot of caveats that students may not be aware of. It’s always good to run your class ideas by your adviser to make sure you are setting yourself up for the next sequencing of classes. A lot of times students will not understand that there are prerequisites and if they don’t meet with an adviser it could cause a delay in graduation,” Pendleton said.

Many students at YSU opt to meet with an academic adviser before scheduling their classes, and Pendleton agrees that it is those students who are more likely to succeed.

“The ones that schedule with an adviser, they tend to graduate on time. That’s a phrase our students love to use. And ‘on time’ could be different for different people — sometimes that’s a four-year timeline and sometimes that’s a five-year timeline. We find that students get out the door [spending] less money and less time if they meet with an academic adviser,” Pendleton said. 

That is exactly why junior journalism major Matthew Maher meets with his adviser to schedule classes.

“It was extremely helpful. … She just pulled up my record of everything that I’d done and needed to be done and said, ‘All right, here’s what you can’t do because you don’t have the prerequisites,’” Maher said.

Students also have the option to meet with an adviser virtually.

Senior communications major Hannah Higgens said she has been taking advantage of this option. Higgens has met with her adviser every semester to schedule her classes. As she enters her final semester at YSU, she wanted to make sure that everything was set for her to graduate.

“Since COVID, I’ve been doing it on Zoom. … but before that, I met with my advisers in person … I just like to do that every [semester]. I know it’s not really necessary, but I just do it to check in with my adviser,” Higgens said.

For those who cannot meet with an adviser in person, the school has other resources available.

“Students can obtain their curriculum worksheet — that’s probably the biggest one because it outlines courses and then they can look up that information in our catalog. We have them itemized by subject and then they’re numerically numbered so students can get an idea about what that class is about. And it would also identify if there are prerequisites,” Pendleton said when asked what the most important resource other than an adviser was.

Pendleton also wanted to draw the students’ attention to a new resource that the school has opted to use.

“There is a new app that is available to students. It’s not sponsored by Youngstown State but the classes are loaded in there. It’s called Coursicle and allows students to map out what their schedule would look like. Many of our students, the vast majority, work and they need to get schedules on a timeframe that’s going to allow them to continue that employment. Coursicle is a great way, even when they’re in the office we can lay those out and make sure [the schedule is] going to work. If not, we discuss alternative classes,” Pendleton said.

The advisers at YSU want to ensure the highest level of success, and it is worth reiterating Pendleton’s point that students are more successful when they schedule classes with an adviser.

“I’m excited. I’m ready to see what I’m going to do next. I like the major I chose and we’ll see what happens,” Maher said.