Academic Advising

academic advising

Handbook - Guidelines for Advisees

Get the Best out of Advisors

There are probably no elaborate rules for getting the best advice from advisors, but a few general guidelines might assist as students earnestly solicit advice:

  • Seek advice from more than one source. Never ask only one person for advice when a major decision is being made. Ask several people—other advisors, faculty members, administrators, students who have experienced your dilemma, etc. This allows you to cover a wider range of considerations, broaden your horizons, and contemplate events that you might not have otherwise reviewed while you are making your decision (s).
  • Be critical of advice given. You do yourself an injustice by accepting advice in a "holus-bolus" fashion. The result of uncritical acceptance or unchallenged acceptance of advice and recommendations may prove to be a disaster later.
  • Listen carefully to advice given. You must make certain that you have understood precisely what the advisor has said. Hear your advisor out without interruption. When the advisor has finished, ask questions to emphasize points that my have been over looked. At the end of an advising session, restate the conclusion in your own words to make sure that the meaning you gleaned was actually the intended meaning.
  • Do not be defensive about advice. Try not to be defensive if the advice contains criticism of you or the way you do things. This can be a very difficult task. Several "Don'ts" to consider include:
    • Don't try to find a personal fault with the advisor to disqualify him or her as a judge of your situation.
    • Don't be flippant about the advice given.
    • Don't argue with the advisor.
    • Don't try to change the subject to avoid a disagreeable message.
    • Don't be paranoid in the face of criticism.  Your advisor probably does not have a hidden agenda.