One Voice: SMC Adopts Single Advisor Approach
By Jeremy Handel
Navigating college can be a challenge. How do I sign up for classes and what classes do I need to take? What resources are there to find an internship? Who do I call if I’m struggling and just need some advice and direction? At many colleges, the answer to each question lies with a different person.
SMC is helping take the guessing game out of where to find help navigating the road from enrollment to graduation with an all-new approach to student advising: a single advisor for academic, career, and success for each student.
“Student advising should be more than just picking classes or providing a list of companies to contact for internships,” said Megan Georgion, dean of career and student success. “We need to get to know the student’s story and learn about them so we can provide the best direction for them.”
By providing a single first contact for students, SMC makes it more comfortable for the student to reach out, no matter what the issue is. They know that their advisor is familiar with their particular situation and can provide advice that is tailored to them.
“It’s not just about being a traffic cop and pointing students in the right direction,” Georgion said. “We want our advisors to be seen as someone who knows the student’s story and will be their advocate.”
Sometimes they also have to be like a parent to them as well. In addition to cheering them on, advisors are also expected to hold students accountable if they aren’t doing their part. Advisors will reach out to students if they are missing class, or their performance suddenly takes a wrong turn.
Georgion said this type of “intrusive” advising will help students stay on the path to graduation. It also can help to identify if there are other issues that a student may be facing and to get them help if they need it.
“Students everywhere are facing mental health challenges from several different factors,” she said. “Getting to know them and their stories can help us notice changes in their behavior or performance that may be coming from some bigger issue and help them work through it if necessary.”
As a small, private college, SMC prides itself on providing students with a more personalized, well-rounded education. In addition to a top-tier classroom education, the College also focuses on providing students with a healthy quality of life during their time on campus. With a single-source advising process, those confusing questions can be answered easily with a single call.