Authored by: Marsha A. Miller
you come to academic advising as a new hire or as a veteran
faculty member, the first few weeks advising students can
be overwhelming. It can be a challenge to organize the various
demands so that you will not only survive academic advising,
but thrive doing it. Since students' academic futures depend
upon your advice, you need to understand what students expect
look at advisor evaluation tools shows that students expect you
to be proficient in three critical areas: they expect you to know
the college; they expect you to be able to help them solve problems;
and they expect you to be able to communicate effectively.
One of the first things any new advisor should do is become familiar
with the campus culture. Who are your students? What needs do they
have? Ask advisors working in your specific field or at the same
level (freshmen, graduate students, etc.) what issues students typically
bring to advisors. Then connect these issues to the applicable campus
services. Walk around campus and meet the people in each service
area. Write down names, office locations and contact phone numbers.
expect you to know your institution's academic programs, policies
and procedures, i.e., how to read placement scores, who
helps students explore different majors, how a student drops or
adds a course. Read the catalog. Talk to faculty and staff members.
Target topics germane to your situation and have the director of
advising or an experienced advisor walk through the advising folders
of students who have been successfully helped with issues in each
also expect you to help them solve a wide variety of problems, i.e., how to balance their course loads with life responsibilities,
what courses should or should not be taken simultaneously, etc.
Listen. Then provide perspective and options. Know where to find
answers. Talk to course instructors and other advisors. Seek out
the perspective of students who have successfully completed courses
frequently taken by your advisees.
advisees expect you to know how to communicate effectively. This
is much easier if you are already familiar with a student's advising
folder. Take some time before the student arrives to review the
folder. Be friendly and focus on the student, minimizing distractions
such as phone calls. Use the student's name. Learn to say: 'I
don't know but let's find out.' Don't send the student on a
scavenger hunt for a nameless, faceless office; pick up the phone
and call your campus contact. Helping the student make a referral
appointment will increase the likelihood of follow-through.
that many students come to an advising session on one pretext when
the real issue is something completely different. Learn to hear
the real reason for the visit. Help the student identify the problem
and brainstorm potential solutions. Don't dictate. Instead, empower
the student by letting the student decide which course of action
the end of a session, ask 'what question haven't we answered
today?' Leave time to deal with these issues and, if needed,
schedule a follow-up session to evaluate the outcome of any planned
the first few weeks of advising are filled with challenges, taking
time to address these vital areas can establish you as an effective
and trusted advisor.
Authored by Marsha Miller
READING for one-on-one advising:
NACADA Assistant Director, Resources & Services
Drake, J., Hemwall, M. & Stockwell, K. (2009). A Faculty guide to academic advising . Manhattan, KS: NACADA.
P. (2007). The New
Advisor Guidebook: Mastering the Art of Advising of Advising Through
the First Year and Beyond. Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.
Jerry (1991) A Caring Attitude. Academic Advising News, Volume 13 (3).
advice for making students feel comfortable.
Rusty. (2008) Delivering One-to-One Advising: Skills and competencies.
In Gordon, V.N., Habley, W.R., & Grites, T.J. (Eds.). (2008). Academic advising:A Comprehensive handbook (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
chapter lays the foundation for the skills needed to effectively
communicate with advisees.
Gordon, V.G., Habley, W.R., & Grites T.J. (2008). Academic advising: A comprehensive Handbook ( second edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- The 'bible' of academic advising.
Lisa (2004) ' If I were
to write a book about advising for new advisors... ' NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources.
article by an advisor considering what makes advising an enjoyable and deeply meaningful occupation.
Marsha A. (2002). 'How to Thrive,
Not Just Survive, As a New Advisor.' The Academic
Advising News, 25(4).
for new advisors. Article posted
Matthew. (1999) Challenges
Encountered by New Advisers : Honest Answers,
Practical Solutions. The Mentor, electronic publication
about academic advising in higher education. Volume 1, number
1. Retrieved from http://www.psu.edu/dus/mentor/990101mm.htm
solutions to three challenges facing new advisors.
MakingEffective Referrals. Center for Excellence in Academic
Advising web site, Penn State University.
site providing useful links and advising tips for faculty and
Academic Advising Association (2002), Career
to a career related web sites including 'What Can I Do with
a Major in...' and a variety of resources to help advise
Louisiana University (2002) Career
and Academic Planning Center .
number of career links available by pressing 'Career Planning'
on toolbar on the right side of the web page.
for Making Effective Referrals in Academic Advising.
Jack Roundy, (1992; reprinted in 2004). Academic Advising News,
article from long-time NACADA member.
John and Wellington, Kathy. (1998) ' The O'Banion Model
of Academic Advising: An Integrative Approach '. NACADA Journal 18(2):13–20.
(1990) 'Advising Reminders: The Advising Appointment.'
In the Academic Advising News, 12 (3). Retrieved from Advising-Appointment.htm.
tips for conducting an advising session.
10 Questions to Ask an Advisee, Center for Excellence
in Academic Advising, Penn State University.
site that provides useful links for both faculty and staff advisors.
Foushee, R. D. (2008). Academic advising and teachable moments : Making the most of the advising experience. The Observer, a publication of the Association for Psychological Science.
Jordan, P.A. (2007). Building effective communication through listening, interviewing, and referral. In Folsom, P. The New advisor guidebook: Mastering the art of advising through the first year and beyond .
Excellent article from the definitive monograph for new advisors. This best selling monograph should be in the hands of all new advisors.
Michael. (1997) Academic Advising Tips for New Educators . Paper presented at
the meeting of the American Society of Engineering Educators, Session
tips for conducting an advising session.
Mitchell McLeod, Anna (2008). More
Than a Conversation: Using Aspects of Dialogue to Improve Academic
Advising. Academic Advising Today 31 (3). Retrieved
August 18, 2008, from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/AAT/NW31_3.htm#6
article discussing how to establish a dialogue with students.
NACADA (2008) . Scenes
for Learning and Reflection : An Academic Advising Professional
NACADA(2010). Scenes for Learning and Reflection , DVD Volume 2
- Each volume of this DVD series contains ten advising scenes suggested by NACADA Commission and Interest Group
members. All of these “vignettes” feature real students and professional
and faculty advisors as they deal with important advising issues
faced on today’s campuses. Suggested discussion questions at the
end of each three minute scene provide viewers with starting points
for conversations on how these topics relate to their own campus
policies and procedures.
of Academic Advising Resources. (2010). Resources to Assist in Structuring an Advising Session.
NACADA. (2008). Significant conversations: The art and science of communication. NACADA Webcast 19.
Jessica. (2009) 'One More
Draft: How the Writing Process Shapes the Academic Advising Session.' Academic Advising Today, 32(1).
idea on how the writing process relates to the structure of advising.
State University (2006). The
for structuring an advising session.
this resource using APA style as:
M. A. (2002, December).How to thrive, not
just survive, as a new advisor. The Academic Advising
News, 25(4). Retrieved -insert today's date- from the NACADA
Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site [insert link here].