Dornsife launches drop-in advising program

Dornsife’s new Express Advising Service will be held on Thursdays in Grace Salvatori Hall. (Valerie Taranto/Daily Trojan)

The Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences will begin piloting a new drop-in advising program next week where students can meet with advisors without making appointments.

The Dornsife Express Advising Service will allow students to talk with advisers every Thursday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Grace Ford Salvatori Hall for questions regarding topics like foreign language requirements, STARS reports and majors or minors.

The current advising policy at Dornsife requires students to sign up for 30-minute appointments to meet with an adviser in person, according to Dornsife academic adviser Lila Mendoza , who proposed the new program.

Since Dornsife is the largest school at USC, she said it can be difficult for students to schedule appointments or have their emails answered in a timely manner. She suggested the drop-in advising program last semester to help students get simple questions answered quickly without taking appointments away from other students who need them for mandatory advisement or more complicated questions.

“For the students who have those quick 10-minute questions, they take up those 30-minute sessions that we could be using to meet with the students who have bigger questions regarding their schedule,” Mendoza said. “Maybe they didn’t pass a course, and we really need those 30 minutes to get to the nitty gritty stuff.”

Viannda Hawkins, the associate director of advising for Dornsife, said students often have to email their advisers with questions if they can’t sign up for a 30-minute appointment, which can lead to miscommunication or delayed responses. She said the Express Advising Service will allow students to get their questions answered more efficiently.

“I also feel that oftentimes with emails, there’s always a chance of misinterpretation and [the question] not being completely understood versus face-to-face you can explain the information,” Hawkins said. “The student can ask more follow-up questions, and an adviser can ask follow-up questions, and then we can determine what is the best course of action.”

Hawkins said if a question cannot be answered in drop-in advising, the student will be referred to their personal adviser.

Antonia Le, a freshman majoring in applied  and computational mathematics, said she hopes the program will eventually add more sessions throughout the week, so more students can participate.

“The timing of [the Express Advising Service] is not great for everyone, so I feel that if it were offered on more days or if it went for a longer time on Thursdays, then more people could take advantage of what looks like a really good opportunity,” Le said.

Hawkins said the advising office will track the number of students who participate and the types of questions they ask, so they can make improvements. Participating advisers will also be able to give feedback on the program.