Academic Advising

academic advising

Handbook – The Do's of Academic Advising

  • Appreciate the emotion behind your advisee's words (voice intonation and body language).
  • Try to consistently check your understanding of what you hear (not hear what you want to hear).
  • Do not interrupt your advisee's sentences. Let him/her tell his/her story first.
  • Fight off all external distractions.
  • Constantly check to see if your advisee wants to comment or respond to what you have previously said.
  • Relax—try not to give the impression you want to jump right in and talk.
  • Establish good eye contact.
  • Use affirmative head nods and appropriate facial expressions.
  • Avoid nervous or bored gestures.
  • Intermittently respond to your advisee with "uh, huh," "yes-s-s," "I see," etc.
  • Ask clarifying or continuing questions (it demonstrates to your advisees that you are involved in what they're saying).
  • Face your advisee squarely. It says that "I'm available to you."
  • Maintain an "open" posture. This is a sign that the helper is open to what the advisee has to say. It is a non-defensive position.
  • Lean towards the other, another indication of availability or involvement.
  • Recognize the advisee's non-verbal behavior. Examples are bodily movements, gestures, facial expressions. Also recognize the para-linguistic behavior. Examples are tone of voice, inflections, and spacing of words, emphases and pauses. This will enable you to respond to the advisee's total message and not just words.
  • Recognize verbal behavior of the advisee. Be an active listener and listen for feelings and content behind the words, not just the words. Try to recognize if the feeling of the advisee is anger, happiness, frustration, or irritation and see if this conflicts with the words the advisee uses. This will enable you to respond accurately and effectively to the advisee in full perspective.
  • Offer reflections on what the student is feeling, based on the advisor's observations. Example: "I sense you are kind of tense about this."
  • Self-disclosure which can support the student's experience. Example: "I remember how nervous I was the first time I went in to see an advisor."
  • Offer reflections on what the student is saying.  Example:  "I hear you saying that you aren't completely sure this is the right major for you."
  • Indirect leads allow the student to choose the direction of the discussion. Example: "What would you like to talk about today?"
  • Direct leads help the student to further explore a specific area. Example: "Can you tell me more about your thoughts on changing your major?"
  • Focusing helps the student zoom in on a particular issue after many issues have been presented. Example: "We're talking about a lot of things here, which one is the most important for you to work on now?"
  • Asking questions using "what" or "how" can help the student give more than "yes," "no," "because," or "I don't know" answers. Example: "What do you like about this major and what don't you like?"