Academic advisers can play an important role in a college student’s success.
Sarah Cicora, an academic adviser in the Department of Psychology in Wright State’s College of Science and Mathematics, encourages students to meet with their adviser to learn about the many resources advisers can share and the care they have for their students.
“Each term, when our department processes degree certifications, I go down the list of upcoming graduates and see the names of students that I have never met. I hate that!” Cicora said. “I want to have met each major at least once so I can say to them ‘if you need anything, please let us know.’ I want to form a relationships with them, but more importantly, I want them to know that they can form a relationship with us.”
Academic advisers play many roles.
“We help ensure that students graduate in a timely and effective way because that is what we want,” Cicora said. “We want to know that you’re not struggling so that if you are we can point you in the right direction.”
Cicora has a master’s degree in counseling from Wright State. When she meets with students, she listens to what they are saying and what they are not saying.
“We do know that students who see their academic adviser on a regular basis are more likely to graduate in a timely manner and can develop stronger relationships within the department,” Cicora said.
In addition, many students report higher satisfaction with the university.
Professors, staff or faculty members can assist students in their academic struggles and goals, she said.
Cicora said students should meet with academic advisers at least once a year. Degree Audit Reporting Systems, or DARS, may show changes in program requirements. Additionally, DARS reports appear differently by major, and some majors keep a more structured order of classes than other programs. Students who plan to attend graduate school must fulfill certain requirements during their undergraduate years.
“If they maintain contact with their academic adviser, they won’t get lost,” she said.
Cicora recognizes when her students work hard despite adversity.
“Nine times out of 10, when students don’t academically perform well, it has nothing to do with their intelligence,” Cicora said. “It has more to do with competing priorities.”
Tips for students when they meet with their academic adviser include coming prepared with questions, asking about their estimated graduation date, understanding the professions their degree may open up for them and knowing the dates and semesters in which a specific course is offered.
Because advisers may receive up to 100 emails a day, Cicora encourages students to stay positive and allow time for their adviser to respond.
Academic advisers often work with students who experience unique situations such as moving, medical problems, pregnancy, transferring schools or other events.
“One of the hardest things a person can do is ask for help or admit that they need someone. And if someone comes to me needing help, I will be here for them,” said Cicora.
“We want to use our whole job to help you succeed … so let us do our job. Come see us,” she said.