OPINION: Advisory Failed Me, But It Doesn’t Have to Fail Incoming Freshmen


Rian Cameron, OwlFeed Opinion Editor

Advisory classes were first advertised to us on our Freshmen Only Day as a transition tool through which we were intended to garner some semblance of stability throughout our unpredictable and ever-changing high school careers. Advisories were meant to keep us grounded throughout high school and provide a teacher for students to look to as a mentor.

However, in the past four years (at least), it has lost purpose and morphed into a technology driven college advertisement class for some and an independent work study period for others.

Seniors, especially, at Agua Fria have noticed the inconsistencies in Advisory classes through first-hand experience due to the two, three, four or more times they have been displaced. The problem begins with its erratic structure.

Advisory has recently hit an all-time low by pairing most students up with teachers based on their second hour class. In doing so, it is essentially a guarantee that students will be switched in the year following. It begs the question: have we completely given up on making Advisory a reliable and feasible source for students? It throws the concept of consistency out the window and demolishes any chance of a much needed separation between Advisory and typical school work.

Students are tossed from teacher to teacher with each passing year. In some cases, this cannot be avoided. When teachers leave or transfer, some change of pace is inevitable.

When teachers are not leaving Agua Fria, however, there is no reason for the classes to be switched. Due to the irregularity of Advisories, students often make bonds with teachers one year only for them to be broken the next when they are switched out.

Brooklyn and Kristen Stutler were faced by this exact adversity. As juniors, the two had already endured two separate advisories and were embarking on their third. This time, though, they found they developed a real relationship with the teacher.

“I wish we would have stayed in [Mr. Murphy’s] class because we really made a connection with the teacher,” said Kristen, having been switched out yet again for her senior year.

In addition to the systematic recasting of Advisory teachers, they also find that Advisory has become obsolete. They do acknowledge and agree with the idea of becoming college and career ready but feel that that idea had become lost on Advisory classes.

“It has always felt like a study hall,” said Kristen, “and that’s what EOT is for,” Brooklyn finished.

Photo Credit: Lauren Mitchell, Rian Cameron, Carlos Johnson


Brooklyn and Kristen believe that the notion of college preparation is rather constructive, but not the way it is being executed.

“In my other classes, I feel like I am being more prepared for college than Advisory, ”  Kristen said.

Brooklyn feels that the definition of Advisory she was told when it was first presented to her was more along the lines of a group of students you had the opportunity to adapt to high school with.

“We were told since freshman year that Advisory was supposed to be you staying with this group of people,” said Brooklyn. “It was our one constant for all of high school,” Kristen concurred.

Besides, if Advisory isn’t about consistency with teachers or peers, what purpose does it serve?

Depending on the teacher a student winds up with, they may or may not be very familiar with Naviance. Naviance is a college and career preparation tool, however, it does not connect well with students in the slightest. Naviance lessons, those sparse times when they are assigned, are universally detested around Agua Fria.

Naviance for Kristen has mostly served to check GPA and send her transcript to college, otherwise the lessons “just feel like busywork,” she said. Brooklyn agrees. “We’re forced to do them,” she said.

Despite the fact that its handiest prodding device is also considerably career-targeted, Advisory is heavily fixated on the objective of steering students towards college. According to Brooklyn and Kristen, who intend avidly on going to GCU, they at least have the right idea.

As for others, it somewhat forces college on you whether or not you plan on going.

“It’s not that useful,” said Amber Chico. “I get that it’s supposed to help us with college, but some people don’t even want to go to college.”

She has realized through exposure to three different Advisory teachers that oftentimes the teacher makes or breaks the class. Every teacher has different styles on how they enforce Naviance lessons and make connections with students.

An Advisory that Amber finds productive is one that promotes healthy relationships among peers. In one experience in particular, Amber’s Advisory did a team-building activity. Amber said, “Half the people there didn’t talk at all, but right then everyone got along really well.”

Amber proposed a solution to the current Advisory crisis.

“An Advisory that is more focused on getting to know people and team bonding, learning to be a better people person, that’s more fun to me,”  Amber said.

Amber has been in a class that stimulated an environment such as this one, and she feels that if it were like this class all four years, it would have been a lot more beneficial to students like her.

“I feel like I would have met more people faster and gotten out of my shell a lot faster,” she said.

College is promoted in the form of counselors, assemblies and opportune Advanced Placement and Honors classes. All of those listed are beneficial and well-constructed nudges in the college direction.

Advisories are a failed attempt at embellishing on the idea of college for students from various backgrounds with various career goals, all of which are valid. Advisories should refocus, regroup and plan to prepare students for the one situation they can all undeniably relate to: surviving high school in all of its stress-packed glory and, in doing so, they can finish their final years feeling as though high school didn’t need to be survived but lived.