Taylor Mitchell

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Academic advising for the spring 2020 semester has begun at Winthrop University and with that comes many questions and concerns for students at every level of the school.

Dr. Adria Belk, director of student services for the College of Arts and Sciences, spoke with the Palmetto Report to discuss advising and preparation for graduation.

Belk says students should be prepared when going into an advising session.

“Advisors are definitely there for guidance, but I always recommend students look up course offerings and see what they can take and try to put a schedule together themselves,” said Belk. “Also look at Degree Works and see what requirements they need to meet.”

She said advising sessions should accomplish more than simply building a schedule of classes.

“We also encourage students to develop a relationship with their advisor to make sure it’s a partnership and they can contact their advisor when they have questions about requirements or opportunities. Definitely a mentoring partnership can kind of take place with an advisor and a student,” she said.

At Winthrop, most advising is done by faculty, but at other schools students may work with a full-time, professional advisor.

“Students might come into a university and have a professional staff advisor that they work with, it’s still very high touch but it’s a different model,” she said.

“Once they get to a certain point in their degree program they may move over to a faculty advisor who serves in more of a mentoring role at that point.”

Belk said students should also familiarize themselves with the graduation process and requirements as they approach their final semester on campus.

“I think it’s really important for students to know that once they reach a certain point, they should start the graduation steps…outlined on the records and registration website,” she said.