It’s almost time for Spring 2022 registration! Each semester, students at UMass Boston meet with their advisor to discuss their plans for next semester’s courses and remove their advising hold from WISER. However, there aren’t enough advising meetings throughout the semester. At UMass Boston, students are only required to meet their advisor once per semester to remove their advising hold. Many students come to the university undecided and unsure of which major to pick. Eventually, this can lead to their graduation date being pushed forward if they don’t complete their requirements on time. Some of the classes count for double the requirements, but a lot of students are unaware of this. As a result, students end up doing extra classes without knowing. Overall, it’s not a good use of the students' time. Students need the right advice to be able to successfully pick their classes and schedule. One meeting per semester doesn’t seem like enough for students based on the graduation rates. But we can do something to bring up the graduation rate.
Low graduation rates can be an indicator of university advising and students' performance. UMass Boston’s graduation rate is roughly 59 percent, and there can definitely be something done to improve it. Advisors should discuss strategies that students can use throughout the semester to stay on track for graduation. We don’t want our students to fall behind. More often than not, students receive emails about important testing that is required. However, many students that don’t check their emails tend to overlook these, which can cause delays in graduation. It would be a good idea to set up a system that alerts students if they aren’t making a certain amount of progress each semester within the major; this would be extremely helpful for students who are unsure about their requirements. Additionally, there should be an additional advising appointment per semester to check in on grades, see how the semester is going and what resources the university offers for students who need extra help or are struggling. Many students are not aware that the university offers one-on-one and group tutoring sessions each week.
There also seems to be some confusion with the course attributes that are listed in the general education classes. This is because some classes are listed under a section, but don’t count for that specific general education requirement. So, students end up taking these classes without checking the course attributes which leads to a delay in graduation. Advisors should inform students and go over the next steps of what students should be doing each semester. They should also confirm whether students have taken required tests for their major such as the E-WRAP or CMWA. As a result, the graduation rates will drastically increase, and it will benefit students. Honestly, students who are well on track to graduate can even help other students as student advisors. If students have monthly meetings with their student advisor instead of only once per semester, they can remind students to help them meet deadlines. This could be helpful as a work-study opportunity for students, as well as for students receiving advising. It would be affordable for the university to pay students. The main goal here is to help as many students as we can to graduate on time and set them up for success.