The freedom of students to plan individual programs carries with it the responsibility to develop coherent courses of study. Because of this flexibility and individualization, the relationship between student and advisor is an important one. By the senior year, the student works closely with a two- or three-person team, which certifies fulfillment of all requirements and readiness for graduation.

The purpose of the advising system at COA is primarily to aid a student with academic planning, but it also serves as a source of personal support. Flexibility is central to the system; a student is encouraged to change advisors if those assigned do not meet his or her needs. There are also other formal sources of advice (Career Services, Mental Health Counselors, etc.) and all members of the COA community serve as informal advisors. A student shouldn't hesitate to make an appointment to meet with any faculty member to discuss course work and plans.

Advisors function officially in approving independent study proposals, Internship proposals, Final Project proposals, Human Ecology Essays, and certifying fulfillment of graduation requirements. Beyond this, the goal of the advising system is to give each individual at the College a group of people with whom to share ideas and plans. It is hoped that through discussions with advisors, a student is better able to plan a program of study suited to his or her goals as a human ecologist.

First-year Orientation

Upon arrival, all new students are assigned an advisor who participates in the opening orientation sessions and helps to acquaint his or her advisees with all the resources needed to help in academic decision making. As the year progresses, each student is expected to move toward association with a long term faculty advisor. The choice is the student's; the closer he or she is to graduation, the more critical it is that a good relationship is established with the advisor(s). A student may change advisors at will; a Change of Advisor Form must be filed with the Registrar's Office when the student changes advisors.

Advising Team

The ultimate goal of the advising system is to establish a team which remains with a student through graduation. The team is composed of one teaching faculty member and one student and, optionally, a third person from the COA faculty. The members of the team should have a solid understanding of a student's major interests, long term program, and goals. Ideally, the team acts as a source of guidance and support through graduation. It is also the responsibility of the team to certify that all requirements for graduation are met.

When selecting an advising team, the student should talk with the COA faculty, staff, and students he or she is considering to ensure that they are willing to add to their advising commitments. It is especially important when selecting student members to be sure that they will be available to approve Internship plans and Final Project work. This is sometimes complicated, since fellow students may graduate or take leaves of absence from the campus.

The Associate Dean for Academic Services is available to help students with any aspect of the advising system.

COA — Life Changing.

"COA has been life changing for me because it has given me the opportunity to challenge my professors in the same ways they challenge me and to interact with them as colleagues rather than as teachers. "

Noah Hodgetts | Class of 2010

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