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Advising Session Guidelines

What materials should you have on hand?


Departmental forms which may include an intake form and department checklists

Forms from the Registrar’s Office which may include a Privacy Release, Override Class Restriction form, Request for Adjustment of Academic Credits, Transcript Request Form, University Appeals form, Student Information Update, or Permit for Seniors to Take Graduate Courses.

Source Books

University Catalog, Faculty and Staff Directory, and any departmental manuals (if the department has one for students)

Other Materials

Brochures from service offices (Career Center, Counseling and Testing Center, Student Success Program, Student Services, Financial Aid, Student Involvement, etc.) – or if your area does not have storage space for brochures, use the web pages.

Web pages – should be up and accessible during the advising session so you are able to help students access information.

How should an advising session be conducted?

  1. Before inviting the advisee into the advising area, review any information received on an intake form. When possible, use PeopleSoft® to look up admission status, academic status, transfer information, courses completed at BSU, current courses (if applicable), test scores, etc. Know as much as possible about the advisee before working together.
  2. Remember to introduce yourself! It is important that an advisee knows your name. You should also tell the advisee a little about yourself. Self-disclosure builds the advisee’s confidence in you.
  3. Listen and gather pertinent information about the purpose of the visit. This may include academic or personal concerns, time commitments, skills, etc.
  4. Ask the advisee what he/she would like to accomplish during the session.
  5. Introduce advisee to the source books as needed. Encourage familiarity with the University Catalog, Directory of Classes, and web page. Teach the advisee how to use the source books and find information for herself.
  6. Finally, attend to the business at hand. This may be helping select classes, scheduling classes, explaining procedures, referring to other services, exploring interests, etc.
  7. When you have covered the apparent business, ask if there are other concerns. Ask about things in general. Also address anything you noted in your preparation that did not come up during the advising session.
  8. Review the session, make referrals and ask the advisee if he/she accomplished what he/she wanted.
  9. Close the session with an invitation to return. Provide office hours and be sure the advisee has something with your name, office location and phone number on it. Be sure to provide a referral to the academic department of the student’s major as well.

How Long Should a Typical Advising Session Last?

A typical advising session should last approximately 25 – 45 minutes. Enough time should be allowed to cover the student’s needs. Some sessions, especially during heavy advising periods may be closer to 25 minutes.

Should You Make Notes About the Session?

When the session is over, make appropriate notes to include in the advisee’s file. Notes are helpful for the next advising session.

Appropriate notes should be based on the advisee’s behavior and non-judgmental and should include any referrals you made.