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General Advising Strategies

Setting the stage for a good advising session

  • Establish rapport by preparing for the session – know something about the student
  • Establish expectations of advising relationship – your role and the advisee’s role
  • Encourage advisees to talk by asking open-ended questions – a few moments of silence is okay
  • Categorize advisee questions – are they seeking information, action, or understanding
  • Appreciate the emotion behind the advisee’s words (look for non-verbal cues; listen for verbal cues)
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Constantly check your understanding of what you hear (feedback)
  • Show empathy, understanding and respect
  • Establish warm, open and genuine relationship
  • Evidence interest, intent and involvement
  • Be a good listener – silence in a session is appropriate
  • Don’t be too quick to give “advice” – listen to the whole story
  • Don’t be too quick to judge – either the student or the university
  • Eliminate external distractions
  • Avoid nervous or bored gestures
  • Maintain eye contact when appropriate
  • Remain as neutral as possible while supporting the student

Making Referrals

  • Know how and when to make referrals
  • Follow up on referrals
  • Don’t refer too hastily – on the other hand, do NOT take on more than you can handle or more than you are qualified to handle
  • Have students contact important referrals in your presence
  • Don’t make decisions for students – provide students support to make decisions

Academic Progress

  • Focus on strengths and potential rather than limitations
  • Monitor progress
  • Help students determine reasons for poor academic performance
  • Be realistic with advisees – but don’t disregard their goals
  • Help students discover factors to contribute to success/failure

Career/Major Exploration

  • Encourage advisees to consider and develop career alternatives when appropriate
  • Encourage advisees to be realistic and evaluate skills and abilities

Good Advising Practices

  • Provide accurate information, don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know – NEVER guess
  • When in doubt, refer to the catalog, directory, etc.
  • Follow up on commitments made to advisees
  • Keep a record of significant conversations
  • Don’t be critical of other faculty, staff or academic departments with students
  • Provide a rationale for completing CORE classes
  • Learn to explain the same concept in several different ways
  • Serve as an advocate when necessary
  • Protect your credibility – don’t let yourself be seen as always trying to help students avoid the usual standards or circumvent the system
  • Teach students to navigate the current system – not avoid it