Academic Advising Guidelines for Advisors

1. Endeavor to know his/her advisee well enough to be able to write a cogent letter of reference if requested to do so.

One factor frequently mentioned by students as being important to them in the advising process is whether or not an advisor shows concern for them as individuals. Students who feel that their advisor cares for them as a person are more likely to value their advisor’s advice, and are more likely to return to their advisor when they are experiencing difficulties. Advisors can develop this relationship with their advisees by:

  • Establishing a good rapport with each advisee, stimulating active interaction and discussion of progress and other student-related concerns or activities.
  • Become familiar with the student’s educational and career goals.
  • Be knowledgeable of the student’s academic abilities, interests and background.
  • Utilizing the student’s folder material, transcripts and grade report.
  • Scheduling frequent visits with advisees, asking about the students’ progress and determining whether or not he/she needs attention.
  • Recording information in advisee’s files/folders which may be helpful in future advising or for possible use as reference by other advisors in case of referral or change of major.
  • Being available to talk to students on a regular basis. Have a reasonable amount of office hours and endeavor to be there during office hours. Provide students a campus phone number or other mechanism to reach you during office hours. 

2. Exhibit good listening and questioning skills in order to identify academic and/or personal problems which may affect academic performance.

While advising should not be equated with counseling, successful advisors need to understand and use some basic helping skills. These can include:

  • Communicating interest in the student by maintaining direct eye contact and keeping attentive body posture. Practicing good listening skills.
  • Providing a non-judgmental atmosphere.
  • Using open ended questions to encourage the students to talk. Allowing silences for the student to talk.
  • Providing feedback of what you heard by re-stating or rephrasing what the student has said. 

3. Discuss career options and interest as they may relate to the student being advised.

Advisors serve an important role in the career development of students. Advisors can assist students by:

  • Being aware of the personal components involved in career decision making.
  • Having information about the work world and how it is applicable to your area of specialization.
  • Providing accurate information about academic requirements to help the student achieve his/her career goals.

4. Assess the student’s ability to successfully complete the proposed academic load and offer suggestions for modification when appropriate.

  • Explain which courses are required and recommended.
  • Be sure that students have adequate preparation for courses which are      recommended. (If necessary, consult transcript and CAPS report.)
  • Be alert to specific course sequences which are required in the student’s major program.  Help the student understand the complete degree program and how to plan courses. Keep as record of the courses the student was advised to take, the courses the students formally selected, and other information from advising sessions.
  • Assist each student in deciding how to choose elective courses to best meet his/her goals, taking into account the student’s interests and abilities. Advisors should keep in mind that the choices belong to the students and that the advisors responsibility is to give accurate advice and information.
  • Understand and be able to interpret academically related measure like   standardized test scores (ACT, SAT, ORE) and S&T placement tests. Communicate these results to students in terms of both institutional and national norms.
  • Understand and be able to interpret CAPS Report information to students.

5. Be aware of campus facilities and resources which are in place to assist students and be prepared to refer students to these programs when appropriate. Offer to assist in making appointments and follow ups as appropriate.

Advisors are not expected to know everything. When faced with a situation that requires additional information or other campus resources, the advisor should be knowledgeable enough of the support on campus to call or appropriately refer the student.

When it is determined that a referral is in order, the advisor:

  • Explain clearly to the student why the referral is being made.
  • Explain what kind of service is offered and what the student should expect from the referral service.
  • Help the student make the appointment. A phone call to set up the first appointment is the most effective way of ensuring that the student will make the all important first contact with the referral service.
  • Follow up with student, the referral service will not provide information due to confidentiality. With follow up from the student, the advisor can evaluate how useful the service was and can determine if the student is making progress.

6. Be generally aware of campus rules and procedures relating to academic matters. Examples include, but are not limited to, add/drop procedures and deadlines, change of grading option and probationary rules.

Advisors also need to:

  • Be knowledgeable about registration procedure.
  • Keep up to date on university academic regulations.
  • Keep a current undergraduate catalog, keep a manual of information.

7. Be very familiar with the curriculum in which he/she is advising so that students can be assisted in a selection of courses resulting in a degree or other educational goals.

           Remaining informed and current is a task that requires constant attention. From a student’s point of view receiving incorrect information is worse than not knowing at all.

  An advisor needs to be:

  • Familiar with specific department program requirements.
  • Knowledgeable about general graduation requirements, academic policies, and campus-wide academic procedures.
  • Aware of the other course academic programs offered at the University. Keep a record of student contacts and progress.