By James Shaver, Contributing Writer
Life in college is a time never to be forgotten. It is a time to meet new friends, escape parental holds and even do tricks with moon pies at parties—that is if your idol is John Belushi. At the same time, college life should never be underestimated. In college, we are no longer girls and boys, but rather young adults. With the opportunity for being our own bosses, responsibilities which were never previous concerns take effect.
Despite classes such as First Year Experience and the help of academic advisers, there are still college students who are not pro-active in taking the responsibility for understanding requirements for graduation.
West Liberty University requires all students to complete at least forty hours of upper level courses (300 and 400) to graduate. In a recent poll, random students at West Liberty University were questioned about the number of hours needed, and the results offered some optimism, but overall, they substantiate a lack of responsibility. Sixty percent answered that they had never read the University handbook. This high statistic may reflect freshmen who have not had the opportunity to read through the handbook, but only 36 percent of the students polled were freshmen.
Students were then asked how many hours of upper level classes were needed for graduation. Four choices were offered, the first three being 40, 35 or 30. Only 13 percent correctly answered 40 hours, and 79 percent of the participants answered with the fourth choice: “I do not know.”
The students who answered 40, 35 or 30 were given a final question which inquired how they had obtained the answer they gave. Twenty-eight percent stated that they had read it in the University handbook; 24 percent had been told by another student, and 60 percent were told by a teacher and/or adviser. With such a high percentage linked to academic advising, I decided to speak with my own advisor, Dr. Steve Criniti, about his experience with the 40-hour issue.
Criniti stated that he knew of other students who had encountered the problem, and he added that one of these students had to return for an extra semester. According to Criniti, the majority of his advisees, and students with whom he has spoken, do not keep an organized record of their completed classes. When asked about advisers, Criniti stated, “There are good advisers, and there are bad advisors.” On the other hand, he stated that it is the student’s responsibility to be prepared. In short, going to a meeting with an adviser is equivalent to going to a class. Both require certain levels of readiness on the student’s part; otherwise, it becomes a waste of time for student and professor/ adviser.
Both student and adviser hold a responsibility to ensure that this problem does not occur; however, according to West Liberty University’s handbook, “It is the ultimate responsibility of the student to ensure that all graduation requirements are met.”
Yes, advisers, if they haven’t already, should begin telling their advisees about the 40-hour requirement, but students have the greater responsibility.