News / Student Life

One Advisor to 900 Students: Why Hunter Students Are Forced to Navigate College Life Solo

The entrance to the Office of Advising.
Photo by CoCo Lin

Many Hunter College students complain upon arriving at school that they must act as their own advisors.

Little do they know the advisor-to-student ratio is 1 advisor to 900 students, according to Jen Gaboury a Professional Staff Congress CUNY staff. There are currently 18 advisors at Hunter, she said.

Students said they have trouble making an appointment through the Navigate app, adding that they can’t make appointments because of limited availability of time slots and limited dates. Many also complained that all appointments are virtual.

For example, if a student needs an appointment this week, the next appointment available would be a week from now, according to Navigate. The wait can be up to two weeks, depending on the availability of the advisor, students said.

Because of these issues, students said they feel forced to be their own advisors when applying for classes and that it has caused confusion about what works as a way to figure out what is needed per semester.

Natalia Johnson, a Human Biology major, expressed how an advisor can be beneficial, but stressful at the same time.

“Sometimes my advisor can be helpful,” said Johnson. “A lot of the things I need help with, I’m constantly sent to someone else in another department for help and I could never seem to get in contact with that”.

Johnson isn’t the only student going through this struggle.

“When talking to my advisor I don’t feel like they’re much help,” said one student who asked to remain anonymous. “They just give you broad answers and it doesn’t really feel like a sit down one on one.”

Feeling like there is no support or a guide can feel overwhelming and stressful. In fact, advisors may also be stressed since they are understaffed and are assigned a large number of students they try to support.

About 55% of college students who were surveyed for a national poll said they’ve received guidance on required courses and course sequences needed for graduation via the advising process, according to a 2023 survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed.

Meanwhile, Hunter students said they can’t thrive like they could because of the lack of communication from advisors. This might lead to many students not to graduate on time without the help of an actual advisor.

The allotted 15 -30 minutes is not enough time to ask all the questions you may have or speak about any doubts a student may be feeling and get full guidance, students also said.

“It’s extremely hard and I have to wait weeks sometimes to get an appointment,” said Ashley Ferreira, a junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in English. “For the most part I’ve navigated college by myself.”

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