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Letters to the Editor

Advising: Some Advice

Over this past term, the Student Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP) has been studying the current state of the advising program at MIT. Last November, our committee conducted a survey, titled DormStorm, of 10 percent of undergraduates to gather feedback on the advising system. There were several specific aspects that students identified as problematic in the current advising system:

Lack of Consolidated Resources

Poor Advisor Knowledge Level

Low Advisor Contact

Ineffective Evaluation Process

We also found that the satisfaction level of students declines with time. On a 1–10 scale, members of the Class of 2009 rated their satisfaction with the advising system as 6.7, Class of 2008 as 5.9, Class of 2007 as 5.7, and Class of 2006 as 5.4.

Some of our recommendations:

Integrate advising into the tenure and promotion process as a method of encouraging professors to become better advisers. Establish institute-wide guidelines for advising meetings.

Improve advisor training program to increase advisor familiarity with current institute and department requirements. Ensure that faculty knows what resources are available for students.

Develop and implement an advisor-evaluation system for freshmen and departmental advising. Incorporate successful departmental advising elements across the Institute.

Ensure incoming students understand advising options before making their choice of freshman advising program.

Integrate effective aspects of seminar-based advising into other freshman advising programs.

Establish a more formalized peer advising system.

Provide freshmen with information about the courses and opportunities to interact with faculty and students from each department. Departments should consider student preferences when making advising assignments.

An electronic version of this report is available at:

Cassandra B. Roth ’07

Vice Chair

Undergraduate Association Student Committee on Educational Policy