The current system for academic advising is hit or miss. Some students are assigned excellent and enthusiastic advisors who can offer advice on courses in a variety of disciplines, while others are not so lucky. Not all professors are good advisors, and this leaves some students feeling like they have nowhere to turn. Unfortunately, many students must resort to the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) course review web site or ratemyprofessors.com?neither of which are terribly reliable?to find the advice they are looking for. Another significant problem is the transition from the pre-major advising system to the major advising system. For some departments, the major advising system is nonexistent.
The College must seriously reassess the academic advising system, especially in light of the new distribution requirements. Faculty must be adequately trained to discuss the curriculum broadly with their advisees so that students can make the right choices about their academic plans.
In addition to a reassessment of the faculty advising system, we suggest that the College create a peer advising system akin to the help offered to first years by upper-class students in their affiliated college houses. Talking to students who have first-hand knowledge of the departments, courses, and professors at Bowdoin can be invaluable. Unfortunately, such an organized system does not exist past a student's first year.
The College should institute a program that would identify upper-class students in the various academic departments who are willing to offer advice to younger students?be they first years or seniors. That way when a student is trying to assess which professor's teaching style would fit best for him or to decide what courses to concentrate in, he will have a person he can contact for help.
Students at Bowdoin should value the freedom they receive in the course registration process?a key component of a liberal arts education. But with the choices available to them comes the oft-daunting task of researching courses and thoughtfully selecting what fits best their academic goals.
Most Bowdoin students will take 32 classes while at the College. It would be a shame to see students squander away one or more of these slots because they were ill-advised or not advised at all.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient?s editorial board. The editorial board is comprised of James D. Baumberger, Drew Fulton, Bobby Guerette, Evan S. Kohn, and Beth Kowitt.