Effective Academic Advising: Four Strategies to Anticipate and Address Student Needs

Jan 29, 2017 by

Sue Ohrablo –

Recently, someone asked me what I perceived the role of an academic advisor to be. It has taken years of practice and refinement in order to come up with a relatively succinct answer to that question. We know we do a lot of important things for students, but when put on the spot, it can be difficult to articulate those things. I believe that the role of the academic advisor is to help engage students in thoughtful, proactive academic planning, decision making, goal setting, and problem resolution.

Anticipating students’ needs is a critical component of effective academic advising. By providing answers to unasked questions and offering support and direction even when the student does not perceive a need, advisors can maximize their effectiveness and add value to the role of academic advisor.

1. Go Beyond the Catalog or Student Handbook

Much of our role as advisors is to point students in the direction of policies and procedures, all of which can be found in the student catalog or handbook.

  • How much will tuition be for this semester?
  • How many science prerequisites do I need to enter the nursing program?
  • If I fail this course, will I have to repeat it?

All of these questions have relatively simple answers. For example:

  • How much will tuition be for this semester? $4,500 plus fees.
  • How many science prerequisites do I need to enter the nursing program? 5.
  • If I fail this course, will I have to repeat it? Yes.

If advisors limit their answers to what can be found in a catalog or student handbook, they are no more valuable than the resource itself. They’ve reduced their value to that of an information center representative who simply points people in the right direction or hands out brochures. Advisors are invaluable in supporting students by anticipating their needs and addressing issues of which the student may not even be aware.

For instance, asking the question, “How much will tuition be for this semester?” may be an indicator that something has impacted the student’s finances enough to result in asking the question. By doing some research on the student’s record, the advisor may be able to discern the origin of the inquiry. Perhaps the student was notified that they are ineligible for financial aid due to failing Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Perhaps they owe a balance from previous semesters and are trying to plan how to pay it all off. Perhaps they need to know how many credits to register for based on limited finances. There are several ways to proactively anticipate the student’s needs and provide comprehensive information.

2. Research Student Records

Continue: Effective Academic Advising: Four Strategies to Anticipate and Address Student Needs | The EvoLLLution

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.