By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
“Did you know?” informs Douglas students about college services. If you’re part of a campus organization for students and want to raise awareness, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
With the start of the semester there are often questions regarding academic advising. Operations supervisor Teryl Spiers Smith explains when the academic advising offices can assist students and where to go when the offices can’t.
“Our goal is teach students how to independently create their own program or course plans and successfully achieve their educational goals,” said Smith. “We offer one-on-one drop-in appointments, virtual classroom chat sessions, email, online university transfer planning guides for popular transfer programs, and course planning information sessions for students.
“We answer questions related to admission, program or course planning, and graduation for Douglas College programs, and assist students in determining the requirements they may need for transfer to other post-secondary institutions.”
What many students don’t realize is that academic advising is not a general help centre for all student concerns.
“An academic advisor’s focus at Douglas College is on course planning, such as what courses or requirements you need for admission, transfer, or graduation,” said Smith. “We are not career planners, we do not offer advice on student loans, scholarships, or bursaries, or information regarding the content of courses.”
For those concerns, Smith recommends visiting career counselling in student services, financial aid for monetary related questions, and contacting respective faculty with course questions.
Smith added that one of the most common concerns at the beginning of each semester is with “last-minute” requests and changes.
“At the start of the semester we see many students that are trying to get into classes at the last minute—they are not sure what is available that will fit into their program plan.
“Many students are also wondering how to change their course schedule for the current semester. The vast majority of students use the start of the semester to confirm that their courses will satisfy their graduation or transfer requirements.”
As for those hoping to graduate or enter programs in the near future, Smith recommends that students “plan early.”
“Demand for our services typically slows down during the second to seventh weeks of the semester, then picks up again just before priority registration starts for the next semester. Students should prepare early so they can avoid the rush and stress during our peak periods.”
Wait times for academic advising one-on-ones during “peak periods” run out quickly and sometimes require students to wait several hours prior to a meeting, so planning ahead is highly encouraged.
“Our role is to help students find the information they need,” said Smith.
“We recommend students visit our website [douglascollege.ca/advising] to find out more about our advising services and schedules, and review our helpful course planning step-by step guide.”