Advising clarifies focal studies, requirements

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With only a few weeks left in the fall semester, Pacific students have been having meetings with their advisers to map out the rest of their academic year as well as the remainder of their studies at Pacific.
The advising period is always a busy time for Director of the Advising Center Gretchen Potter. During the past couple weeks many students have been entering Potter’s office with questions on a “wide range of issues,” said Potter.
Some reoccurring questions are getting new students familiar with the registration process so that they can be better-prepared for their meetings with advisers in the future. Also, students often come to the advising center to receive explanation on the differences in core requirements for Pacific’s health professions program. Preparation for graduate programs requires just as much planning if not more than for an undergraduate degree.
Also, Potter has been sitting in on meetings with many students who are not prepared for their focal studies requirements. Although Potter said she has encountered many students who respect and are excited about the goal of focal studies, making students more well-rounded in their knowledge, she admitted that “a misconception is that we have added requirements” but “it evens out in the end with core credits and classes” because the overall count has not changed.
Although the requirements have not changed with the addition of focal studies, Potter stressed that it definitely does require more planning. These are the students that Potter sees being frustrated and stressed about their tasks left to achieve academically at Pacific because “if they haven’t planned it can be more problematic,” said Potter.
Although many students decide on their focal studies purely based on what they have already completed in their core requirements, Potter is glad to see that some do settle on their two focal studies because the area interests them.
In this way, Potter said that she does see focal studies accomplishing its goal for some students. Because students need to pick two different focal study areas, Potter said they are applicable to all students whether they are returning, new or transfer students.
Another task of the advising center outside of helping students declare their majors, minors and focal studies is pairing them up with an adviser.
When first coming to Pacific, students are paired up with an adviser based on the interests they voiced in the academic interest survey that Pacific requires of all incoming freshmen. So, if students are undecided about their area of study, an adviser may be assigned to them initially that later on is not fitting to their program. However, Potter said that if students are comfortable with their adviser prior to declaring their major, a switch is not always necessary.
Furthermore, despite Pacific receiving a larger class of freshmen this year, Potter said the process of pairing students up with advisers has not been strained or really changed at all.
Overall, Potter said the needs of each student are different when walking in to the advising center. For each question, there will be “a different answer depending on where the student is,” said Potter.
So, because of this, Potter said the most important question for students to consider before approaching their adviser or visiting the advising center is “What is the priority?”


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