Mr. John Updegraff is an academic advisor at Auburn, here to help Liberal Arts students with their scheduling needs and conflicts. His day starts early and ends late, and is filled with helping students who strive to be their best. He also keeps students on track for graduation, and is a valuable asset to any student who utilizes his advice. Mr Updegraff and I spoke about the nature of his work, his past, and what made him want to help students in the first place.
1) How long have you been here and what led you here?
Well tomorrow will mark four years since I became an academic advisor. I graduated from Auburn in 2003 with a degree in HDFS (Human Development and Family Services), but I started out getting involved in camp war eagle, and ended up getting an internship here and then getting hired.
2) Describe some different ways that you help students.
My main focus with the students is addressing their academic needs and concerns, along with tracking their graduation and plan of study. I also am the person they would come to with any other academic questions. If someone has a scheduling conflict, for instance, they can come see me and we can try to work out a solution. I'm basically here to help the student.
3) How often should a typical student see his/her advisor?
That's a good question, and I would say at least once a semester for freshmen, sophomores and seniors. Juniors have a little bit of breathing room since they should be on the path to graduating, so they typically do not need to see me as much. The more they come and see me, the more help I can give them and the more questions I can answer, so the more often the better. I am pretty available, you can make an appointment online or by calling or stopping by the office.
4) What is the hardest part of your job?
Definitely getting students to see me before they have a problem. Most students come in a few days after they have a major problem and at that point it may be hard for me to help. If all students were more proactive and saw me before there is a problem, I could be more helpful.
5) What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The key to doing something right is doing it consistently and practicing it.