HIGHLINE COLLEGE |Fri, Nov 15, 2019


Run the numbers:Math advising equals success

By Izzy Anderson Staff Reporter



Avoiding math classes until the last minute and not utilizing an advisers help is only hurting yourself, Highline math professor Dr. Aleya Dhanji said.

"This quarter we were sur-prised to find that around a quarter of Engineering 100 students did not know their math placement," Dr. Dhanji said.

She said that this is vital for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) students, who need to begin their math classes during their first quarter.

And this pattern isn't limited to STEM students. "We have also seen a vast majority of non-STEM students delay taking math till much later in their degree. Eighty-two percent of students do not register for math within their first 45 credits," she said. "In addition, only 26 percent of those who placed in college math will take it in their first year."

Because of this, Dr. Dhanji said that degree completion is sometimes delayed due to students having to take multiple math courses near the end of their degree.

And while it might be tempting to put off math until your last quarter, it's easier on yourself to get it out of the way now,

Dr. Dhanji said."There are advantages to taking it sooner rather than later," she said.

"Towards the end of your degree when you have other things on your mind like transfer applications, you do not necessarily want to be taking classes that are difficult or not your favorite subject," Dr.Dhanji said. "You may also for get math knowledge if you wait too long."

To help get past that procrastination, students should take advantage of advising, she said. "The Placement Center provides multiple ways to determine math placement, including high school transcript evaluations, MyMathTest, GED scores and more," Dr.Dhanji said. "They also offer both online and face to-face math brush-up workshops for students who would like a refresher before taking the placeent test."

As a whole, advisers are not utilized nearly often enough, she said. "We have seen students underutilize faculty advising in general," Dr. Dhanji said. "Faculty are here to help, and we very much care for not only our students' academic success at Highline, but also about their wellbeing and helping them achieve their long-term career goals."

And not properly organizing future classes, by yourself or with an adviser, can mess with a student's goals. "When it comes to STEM, we often find that students do not check to see if certain science classes are offered every quar- ter, which can throw off their academic plans by as much as a year," she said. However, advisers can help with much more than just organizing your classes.

"There is a wide range of questions that faculty advisers can help with," Dr. Dhanji said. "Is my academic plan up-to-date and are my goals realistic?

How will my credits transfer at my choice of four-year universities?

How do I find scholarships and sources of financial aid?

Which classes in my degree are particularly challenging and how can I better prepare for and succeed in them?"

Many students who do seek advising, have found a lot of success in it, she said. "I've had many students tell me about what a positive impact a faculty adviser has had on their success, either in terms of advice on scheduling classes strategically or how to study better and cope with stress or where to apply to transfer and which programs to look into,"Dr. Dhanji said.

"Quite a few of my current and former students have also [relayed] to me how their adviser believed in them and encouraged them at a time when they were facing setbacks, and this really motivated them to continue and keep trying till they were successful," she said.

But advisers can't help, if stu-dents don't ask for it.

"Your faculty adviser is committed to helping you be successful, but your adviser cannot help if you do not tell him/her how he/she can help," she said.

"Go ahead [and] knock on their door, visit them during their office hours, or send them an e-mail," Dr. Dhanji said. "They will be happy to hear from you."