There are a plethora of individuals that students can, and do, go to when seeking advising and help whilst planning their future schedules. A few advisers available to students are: academic advisors in Driscoll South, department heads, FSEM professors, major advisers, pre-professional advisers and more. However, at times, it is evident that these individuals, by no fault of their own, do not seem to know as much as the students would like about specific professors, courses and planning.
A problem that many students have run into is not knowing that certain classes are only offered during certain quarters. This is especially common among science sequences, leaving students perhaps waiting an entire year to enroll in the first required class of the series. Furthermore, some more broad advisers, like the academic advisers in Driscoll and FSEM professors, simply do not know enough specific information about certain departments. Students are left to attempt to meet with department heads or undergraduate directors of the department just to be met with difficulty finding a meeting time if they receive a response at all. I have found that oftentimes advisers of any sort do not know the answers to my more specialized questions and lead me on an extended hunt for someone that will, promising that although they do not know the answer, surely this other person will.
I propose that DU should add “Student Advisers” to the list of undergraduate student on-campus jobs. The position would only be open to juniors and seniors – by year, not by credits – so that underclassmen would be advised by experienced mentors who likely just took the courses in question a few quarters ago. The application process would require at least two letters of recommendation from DU professors, an interview with their respective department head and a staff member of the Academic Advising office and a copy of the applicant’s transcript. Each department would employ a proportional amount of student advisers depending on the size of the department. There would be around 10 advisers for larger programs such as the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Daniels College of Business, while smaller departments like Economics would have around two.
Student advisers would be required to have five drop-in office hours per week, giving students various options as to when they are able to visit. Students would be able to ask sage peers questions that other advisers simply would not be able to answer. Do I actually need to buy the textbook? How does the professor style their class – a few quizzes or one paper? Is it better to take lab at the beginning or the end of the week? Aside from the obvious logistical benefits these student advisers would provide, they would also serve as mentors and role models for fellow students who would, perhaps, in turn want to fill their shoes once they become upperclassmen.
Undeniably, nearly any member of the DU community would be glad to assist any inquiring student, yet students themselves should be considered a reliable alternative as recently-experienced mentors.