Tips for Successful Advising

"Advisors teach students the language of higher education to help them navigate the system"

Try to use all three basic types of conversations advisors have with students, as appropriate:

  • Informational (university policies and procedures, requirements, important dates and deadlines, fields of study, course elections)
  • About the individual student (core values, aptitudes, interests, strengths, areas for improvement {e.g. study skills, time management}, level of involvement in the life of the university)
  • About the future (goal-setting and posing questions, career and personal, how to make this future a reality, how the student is changing as a result of her/his education and experiences)

Recent research conducted by the University of Indiana-Bloomington indicated four common characteristics of student success in relation to academic advising (Kuh, 2006):

  • Advisors know their students well and go to unusual lengths to learn as much as they can about their advisees and believe their primary task is to help change students for the better by making certain they take full advantage of the institution’s resources for learning.
  • Advisors strive for meaningful interactions with students by mentoring and creating close connections with key persons and relationships that are especially important for students in underrepresented groups.
  • Advisors help students identify pathways to academic and social success by asking students to apply what they are learning in their classes to real life issues; and helping advisees learn the campus culture – traditions, rituals, and practices that communicate how and why things are done this way on our campus.
  • Advising and student success is considered a tag team activity involving communications with Student Life, Counseling Center, Chaplain’s Office, Office of the Associate and Assistant Academic Deans, Academic Assistance, Disabilities Services, Housing, Public Safety and the Infirmary.

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