As class registration nears for the Fall 2023 semester, students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are expressing their concerns with the university’s student advising system.

Before class registration opens, students must meet with their university-appointed advisor to review their degree plan. While looking over graduation requirements, students, with the guidance of their advisor, choose courses to take to complete their degree. 

Ideally, advisors aid students in scheduling courses in a sequential order that allows them to graduate on time. Students are made aware of prerequisites, degree requirements and have assistance in navigating their time in college. 

Although, in theory, the advising system guides students through their college years with the help of a faculty member, students report difficulty with the system as a whole.

Faculty members often have narrow windows of time offered for advising that may interfere with a student’s class schedule. An email advising option is offered by some faculty members, but the barriers of online communication interfere with effective advising. 

Students cite grievances with extended graduation dates and uncertainty over degree requirements resulting from the University’s advising system. 

Upperclassmen who aim to graduate on time face more consequences from lackluster advising. With less time until their anticipated graduation, the stakes are higher as they schedule classes. 

Adeline Phillips, a political science junior, said that she feels as if she does most of her advising herself. Using DegreeWorks, the university’s online degree-audit tool, she maps out the classes she thinks she needs and gets them approved by her advisor.

“Doing it by myself adds stress to my life because I try to take the classes I need, but I am scared I am not taking the correct prerequisites or enough classes to graduate on time,” Phillips said. 

Phillips said she is interested in studying abroad, and that she has to do most research on her own to see how credits earned will apply to her degree plan and to see if studying abroad will extend her graduation date. 

Phillips said that even just an e-mail from her advisor letting her know how many classes she must take and what department they are in would ease her mind and reduce school-related stress in her life. 

Phillips said that “just an email saying, ‘Hey, you need to take one 300-level POLS class and two 200-level SOCI classes,’” would be helpful instead of having to map it out on her own. 

“I understand we have to do a little by ourselves, but I wish I could rely on my advisor a little more,” Phillips said. 

Angela Albert, a junior studying English, has faced similar problems with advising after switching her major.

Albert transferred to UL Lafayette with two years of credits from another institution, and said her original advisor she had before changing her major did not help her in assessing her degree plan with her previously-attained credits in mind. 

“I was left to schedule my own classes with the little guidance I had at orientation,” Albert said. 

Albert originally was majoring in visual arts, and  switched her major to English after her first semester at UL Lafayette. She said that when she switched her major to English, one required course needed to graduate in her major pushed her graduation date back by a semester even though she does not have enough required courses in her major or minor to fill that semester.

After switching majors, she was assigned a new advisor in the English department. 

“She has helped me get my degree plan back on track,” Albert said. “Unfortunately, my graduation is still delayed as the classes I have to take are sequential.” 

The first official day for class registration at UL Lafayette is March 27, signifying the end of the advising time period.