OP/ED: Seem Program Directors Before Registering

By Delilah Valentin


Some students seem to be having difficulty with Academic Advising at Mercy College, as some have claimed that they are being led in the wrong direction.

These students have told the Impact that they have had to turn to their program chair or register on their own just to avoid costly mistakes.

ome feel that the advising department has slowly become the source of complications in student’s registration process.

Faculty and students claim that lack of knowledge of the program and course requirements has caused advisors to register students for courses they don’t need or too few courses, causing students to stay an extra semester.

“To not speak to the director of the program before registering is a big mistake,” said a faculty member. “Always see both for your advising.”

For one student, staying an extra semester was the unexpected reality as a result of an advisor’s poor advice.

Larryse Brown, a Mercy College alum, allowed her advisor to take complete control in her freshman year when creating her schedule. Brown placed her trust in who she thought to be well experienced and well-informed with Mercy’s program departments.

“My freshman year my advisor advised me to take four classes. He said it would be best, but what ended up happening was my having to stay an extra semester,” stated Brown.

Mercy College represents its academic advising department as supportive, helping students follow their majors requirements, and helping students utilize resources at Mercy for a better experience; this is all listed on Mercy’s main website. Unfortunately, students have come to learn that matters need to be taken into their own hands.

While a pleasant experience was promised, this is not what one senior student experienced in her latest encounter with advising in the Manhattan campus.

Tatiana Hlivova had only one quick question to ask when she stopped by the Manhattan campus advising office. New advisors have been hired to represent a supportive and informative role, yet Hlivova experienced unprofessional behavior.

“I sat waiting for about 20 minutes as the advisors and their acquaintances decided that talking about what they would eat was more important. When I was about to approach one of the new advisors about my simple question, she told me to sit down and wait because she was ‘doing something.’”

Mercy’s Manhattan Campus consists of only two floors with a group of student counselors available to students from 9a.m-7p.m; however, Hlivova states that many other students were waiting along with her to meet with an advisor for quite some time.

“I have never had any complaints with giving students the wrong courses. I always try to make a plan for the students to highlight the courses they have completed according to their degree evaluation,” says Rita Bionnberg, a student counselor from Manhattan Campus.

Bionnberg goes on to explain that many times students will register for their classes on their own making the wrong choices.

“My goal is to always register students for the right courses they need and to get their degree on time. I’ve been working as a student counselor for 17 years, and I always double check to make sure they don’t take the wrong courses. With some of the new student counselors, sometimes I try to help them so that they understand how to do things and make sure they don‘t make any mistakes. Sometimes they do,” states Bionnberg.

One student recalls her first two years at Mercy with an advisor at the Manhattan Campus, randomly picking her courses without discussing any required courses that she would need to complete. This student is now transferring and still awaiting some paper work from advising. The student has refused to give her name for fear of not receiving her paper work.