Opinion: Isolated freshman advisories harm freshmen, seniors

Nandita Subbiah

Above, a freshman advisory works on a community service project. WSPN's Nandita Subbiah questions the merit of freshman-only advisories.

“The Advisory Program was developed to positively impact school culture through constructive, small-group discussion and activities on relevant, meaningful topics.” – Wayland High School Student Handbook

At the end of the Advisory Program’s first year at WHS, an unfortunate change was made. Last year, seniors were in their own advisory groups while the other grades were mixed together, but this year, sophomores, juniors and seniors are grouped together while freshmen are separated into freshman-only advisories.

Having freshman-only advisories isolates freshmen from the rest of the school and prevents advisory from having a more positive impact on school culture. Freshmen would benefit socially if the advisory program allowed them to make new friends early in high school.

Many students at WHS share the same feeling regarding integrating freshmen instead of seniors.

“The freshmen should at least have [advisory] with the sophomores or one other grade because then I’d actually meet new friends in other grades,” freshman Drew Brodney said.

Freshman Clara Lagor agrees with Brodney.

“I think it would also be great if we [freshmen] were introduced to different age groups and different socializing areas other than the grade we were with before,” Lagor said.

In theory, freshman advisories are supposed to create new and stronger bonds between students facing similar challenges at the start of high school. In reality, freshman advisories don’t lead to new friendships — in many freshman advisories, students spend time with their old friends and ignore the other students.

“I think when kids get there, they get together right away in the same kind of groups,” freshman advisory teacher Molly Kooshan said.

Freshmen would have an easier time starting high school if they could ask for advice from older students who have encountered the same problems before instead of from students who are also new to the high school.

The current system of advisory is not only negatively affecting freshmen. Mixing seniors into integrated advisories also harms the seniors.

Returning to the old system of senior advisories would allow seniors to cement their sense of community in their final year at WHS. Seniors would benefit more from getting to know others in their grade better since they have already adjusted to high school and know people in other grades. Advisory time would also make planning for senior events such as Senior Show easier.

There are limited benefits to freshman advisories. Freshman advisories isolate new WHS students from the rest of the school and prevent seniors from having their own advisory. If the school returned to last year’s system of senior-only advisories and mixed advisories for the other grades, it would finally be possible to achieve the program’s goal to “positively impact school culture.”