Advice for our advisors

Keep pressure on incoming students to graduate on time.

A number of first-years, many of whom entered the University of Minnesota with no major in mind, recently articulated a common trope given to them by advisers: Take entry-level classes in a variety of areas, and explore your options. Exploring is a costly option in higher education. University undergraduate tuition has increased more than 150 percent over the past decade, and wages havenâÄôt kept pace. While waffling around between majors might seem like an honorable search for unknown passions, reality holds that loans today are bills tomorrow. Our students have a problem with graduating. Compared to other Big Ten schools, the University has one of the highest undergraduate six-year graduation rates and one of the lowest retention rates. Students should be advised to choose a major and exhibit the discipline to stick with it, as most graduates do not even end up in their field of study. The University has a great number of resources to help with advising undecided students, and many can be found in the âÄúdegree planningâÄù section of the One Stop Web site. Advisers should turn students toward these tools early and ensure students are fulfilling requirements rather than wasting time and money sampling an extensive course menu. Advisers: Students donâÄôt need a friend; they need tough love and a realistic perspective. Students: Do some research, make a degree choice and stick with it. ItâÄôs far better to graduate in four years with a degree you may not be crazy about than to stay trapped here or become financially strapped here.