QLess, a program newly adopted by UC Santa Barbara’s undergraduate advising, aims to make the lives of students trying to utilize campus advising much easier.
The program was implemented into the advising department during finals week of Winter Quarter 2019 and into spring break, although the Office of Financial Aid has used the program since Fall Quarter 2018.
Students can sign up for available appointment times and save their spots in line by either texting (805) 585-5821 or by downloading the QLess app. Through either method, the program will then alert students when their booked appointment times are approaching.
Jeffrey Stopple, associate vice chancellor of Undergraduate Education and dean of Undergraduate Education for the College of Letters & Science, said the program has “real potential for the whole campus.”
“It will work better the more students get familiar with it … Now during the first week of the quarter, we’re seeing the real asset test of how it’s going,” he said.
Advising has historically been met with large surges of students and lines that are difficult to handle quickly, often with hour-long wait times. QLess aims to streamline this process.
“We see a real surge typically after lunch. I know it’s a challenge to get up in the morning early, but if you want to see advising on a drop-in basis, mornings are great.”
This program is available for general and honors advising located at 1117 Cheadle Hall, pre-health admission advising located at 2105 North Hall and pre-law advising located at 2105 North Hall.
Stopple noted that due to an unusually large freshman class this year, there is an increased demand in advising lines. He pointed out that the students coming to academic advising also have more nuanced academic backgrounds to work with.
“Entering first-year students have more complex records when they get here. They have AP classes, a lot of them did IB, a lot more students are doing dual enrollment, we have more international students who have complicated records,” he said. “So in order to figure out what they’ve done and what they need to do, there’s more advising necessary.”
The advising department has also greatly expanded in order to address that need in the last decade, he added.
“As recently as 10 years ago, there were maybe six or eight advisers for the whole college, and now, depending on some variables involving staff turnovers and leaves and things like that, we’re, like, 18, 22 [advisors]. We’ve grown a lot.”
Stopple also said that he hopes there will be a transition away from physical paperwork to digital alternatives in terms of petitions.
“We’d like to get rid of paper petitions. That’s obviously insane in the 21st century to be carrying pieces of paper around and standing in line, and that’s something we’re moving toward as well.”