Quality advising is so much more than knowing curriculum requirements or being able to recite institutional policies and procedures. It involves a personal touch, the ability to put a face on the institution for students. True quality advising requires the advisor to be human, not bureaucratic. I would like to think that my students view my office as a safe haven. It is a place where they can come for what we think of as typical advising services such as major exploration and course scheduling, but also to share accomplishments, concerns and frustrations, and to seek advice on things outside the confines of their academic lives.
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Good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience as noted by evidence gathered from 1,600 one-on-one undergraduate interviews. Several of the overarching findings from these interviews are 'actionable' by advisors. I look forward to sharing details from these findings with you at the NACADA national conference. However, since June brings freshman enrollment in many areas, I thought that you might benefit from a brief summary of the findings most applicable to advising incoming students.
Students who transfer from one institution to another constitute a significant portion of the current college population, and they consume a considerable amount of the time and effort of advisors at both two-year and four-year institutions. While transfer students bring some higher education experience with them, they are new to the (receiving) transfer institution. They are, in a sense, an anomaly in that they are first-year students with some experience in higher education. This article serves as an overview and provides a brief description of the forthcoming NACADA monograph about this important student population.
Like many academic advisors, I occasionally receive email messages from former students who are somewhat disillusioned by their first post-graduation jobs and speak with some nostalgia about their alma mater. After all, finding a job, meeting workplace expectations, relocating, seeking new friends, and planting roots are all hard work. This unsettling life transition is the theme of the Broadway musical, Avenue Q (Lopez, Marx, and Whitty, 2003), which was written for the twenties generation finding their way in an uncertain world. Avenue Q can be fictitiously found in the furthest and least expensive borough of New York City.
The unique qualities that shape the lives of Millennials must be considered when creating plans for their benefit. Solutions that worked for previous generations must be modified to be effective. Advisors and administrators must utilize millennial student research in order to help these students effectively manage their time. We must embrace this research to facilitate an environment that is most beneficial to our students.
Success is having students who see all the possible links for their degrees rather than seeing limitations. A liberal arts degree is more than a checklist. It is a blueprint for building the foundations for lifelong education. Advisors are the linchpins that articulate options, challenge decisions and illuminate the links from the curricular and co-curricular educational processes to the world of choices.
Preparing students for a career is not higher education’s primary focus. However, the question is understandable. We expect an action to produce an outcome, a direction. “Undecided” insinuates unknowing, and unknowing suggests lack of direction. We stress the need for critical thinking, developing transferable skills, immersion in learning situations, and studying a topic in-depth, i.e., the importance of college for the intellectual experience itself. Nonetheless, the anxiety over what happens the Monday after graduation weighs heavily from day one for students (and their parents); thus it demands our attention.
Nationally, study abroad interest is high, but participation falls far short of the interest expressed by students entering college. Perceived barriers and myths may deter students from studying abroad, widening the gap between interest and participation. Effective advising can foster interest and participation by addressing barriers, dispelling myths, and emphasizing the value of study abroad.
Achieving in college is the proverbial mountain that so many students face. For some students, specifically those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, the mountain presents a daunting task and they are unsure about whether they have the tools or ability to reach the top. These students can be called our “at risk” students or students who are on the edge of academic failure. As a new advisor in the College of Education, I was responsible for creating a success plan that would address the needs of students having academic difficulty. So here I was, standing at the top of the mountain and attempting to map out a plan that would support the students in their climb to success.
Nurtured Advising can benefit students at many colleges and universities, but it is essential at HBCUs. Although originally established to educate descendants of African slaves, historically black institutions have become a gateway of opportunity for black students to compete in today’s society. When the relationship between the student and the advisor is such that the student knows that the advisor cares for him as an individual, the student feels he has support.
In recent years, there have been many references to “Advising as Teaching” in the academic advising professional literature... from my perspective as one who has spent almost 23 years plowing the fields as an academic advisor, and almost that much time growing roses as a hobby, I believe that a strong argument also can be made for using another metaphor, that of “Advising as Gardening!”
We are currently experiencing one of the worst economic downturns in our country's history... The severity of the recession has left America's education in a precarious position...Advisors must be prepared to deal with new challenges and situations.
There are four key areas where academic advisors need to be bold. Hang tight on these, and you will fulfill the NACADA values. More importantly, you will serve your advisees well.
Some people fare better than others when faced with life stressors, disasters and loss. Resilience has been identified as a fundamental explanation for this difference.
Recovering from disasters is a process that takes time – for us and for our advisees. We must recognize our own stages of recovery and realize that our stages impact how we respond to students. We must be patient with ourselves and with advisees if we are to help achieve recovery.
As trends in higher education shift from the recruitment of students towards retention, colleges and universities across the country are becoming more intentional about services and programming that will not only aid in their ability to keep students on campuses, but will assist with the student’s ability to accomplish their goals.
The fight or flight instinct is not unique to students or academic stress, but it might not be a connection the students have previously made. When advisors recognize the link between this biological instinct and student behavior, they can better educate, mentor, and guide students to a healthier and more productive response to stressful situations.
This article introduces solution-focused advising, a framework built and adapted from solution-focused counseling theory, as another tool for advisors to utilize within their approaches.
The author finds that the use of collaborative note writing changes the one directional aspect of advising notes while staying true to the original purpose.
Advisors recognize that students with different enrollment patterns may have different goals and need different types of support. Knowledge of these enrollment patterns can influence conversations with students to help create both short- and long-term plans.
This article aims to show that when communication improves across silos, or separate entities on college campuses that rarely interact, it might increase empathy for the student-athletes and facilitate simple programmatic changes that could increase the likelihood of student-athletes successfully completing the degree programs that they would ideally like to pursue.
The HLC Academy for Student Persistence and Completion at Marshall University created the MU EDGE mentoring program to pair experienced faculty mentors with incoming “murky middle” freshmen to find out what Marshall can do to better retain this under-served population through more intrusive advising.
The author advocates for increasing professional development opportunities related to study abroad.
One of the hardest things advisors face is the notion that they cannot always be the hero. As advisors, we want to help and we want to make things as easy as possible. Yet, there are so many things that are just beyond our control.
Much like letting young adults spread their wings, an advisor needs to be alert, offering assistance when necessary, but knowing when to let the student “learn the ropes” of academic life to ensure they become strong, independent learners.
The author shares insights gained during her own classroom experience.
Most students intuitively know graduate programs differ from undergraduate programs; however, most cannot articulate how different they actually are or what those distinctions may be. The authors contend that providing an orientation program is a vital component to the transition process.
Students may be like Odysseus: full of dreams, interests, fears, and confusions, ready to begin their academic, personal, social, and developmental wanderings. Graduation, much like Ithaca, is the desired destination. Advisors, like the Goddess Athena, need wisdom, knowledge, resources, and authenticity to help student find the right paths during their wanderings.
The 49er Finish Program at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has been actively pursuing its stop out students for over 10 years, catering to adult learners who are seeking to finish what they started. Tactics are threefold: personalized marketing, support services, and institutional enhancements.
With the expansion of China’s higher education since 1998, more and more academic advisors are needed to work with Chinese undergraduates. Understanding their sophisticated social culture values is the first and necessary step for advisors in and out of China.
Advising administrators and training developers frequently ask how advisors can build relational core competencies such as communicating inclusively and conducting successful advising interactions. The author presents theory-informed practical recommendations for advisors to help address the “how” of some of the relational core competencies.
High-achieving students come with great potential, but also great need for assistance, even though that may seem counter intuitive. High-achieving students have challenges of their own, such as dealing with perfectionism and lack of guidance and support for lofty goals.
Application of a strengths model to academic advising can focus on students applying their talents and strengths to academic courses, study techniques, and major exploration.
Academic advising is a term that has not yet been clearly defined in Japanese higher education.
When not addressed, shame can be a saboteur silently leading students away from an institution.
As a primary point of contact between universities and students, academic advisors are often asked to integrate data-driven tools into their practice but only rarely do the concerns of advisors guide the creation of new approaches to institutional data. By bringing the advising perspective to analyses of student data, new opportunities can be found to support student pathways with helpful information.
While Erik Erikson's psychosocial theory encompasses the entire lifespan, his eight conflicts can be readily applied to an undergraduate college student's lifespan, offering a unique paradigm through which to view the student-university relationship. Advisors, particularly, play a critical role in helping students overcome each conflict/crisis.
Students who return to college after a stop out period often have stories of arduous journeys of self-discovery predicated on competing demands of personal and professional life. Listening carefully to these students’ stories can provide advisors with resources to assist them successfully navigate the challenges and obstacles that until now have prevented them from achieving their higher education goals.
Students sometimes find themselves trapped in a state of existence where they feel their voice is silenced and they experience a sense of helplessness. Academic advisors may find that employing the six stages of the Public Achievement model can empower students who find themselves in this “Sunken Place.”
Just as we expect our students to fulfill the promise they made to the institution by working hard toward graduation, we as an institution must strive to fulfill the promise we make to every student that, regardless of the difficulties they face academically or personally, we will help them reach graduation and develop into mature, intellectually curious and capable adults.
Occasionally, students enter their advising session with personal baggage to share with their advisor that detours the conversation away from the normal advising issues. Knowledge of psychological first aid (PFA) give advisors tools to support students who are striving to overcome a traumatically challenging situation before making a referral to another support resource on or off campus.
In addition to helping students plan, understand, and make meaning of their best path to graduation, academic advisors consistently contribute to student success beyond the advising appointment. It is vital for academic advisors to clearly communicate the variety of advising-related responsibilities in a way that is easily understood to all constituents across campus.
When blackness, queerness, and nonconformity intersect, the burdens students carry can be profound. Studies have shown a connection between queerness and discrimination, harassment, and victimization on U.S. college campuses. Academic advisors cannot underestimate how these incidents impact the lives and academics of BQGN students. The author offers methods that can be utilized to assist these students.
Nontraditional student enrollment continues to make up a large portion of undergraduate student populations on both traditional college campuses and in the distance-learning sector. Institutions that wish to retain and help their adult learners be successful will need to be aware of the nontraditonals’ time and effort limitations and provide ways to support them academically to facilitate completion.
HBCUs have been leaders in producing and leading African American students toward health professions. Advisors must recognize HBCUs like a catalyst for change and bastion of future health professionals that need to be cultivated and mentored.
Establishing a Director of Student Academic Success position provided an opportunity to rethink outreach at the author’s institution. The goal was to remove as many barriers as possible, which resulted in distinct changes.
By accessing available student data store in institution’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the athletics department at Nicholls State University was able to share with the coaching staff important and time sensitive information at critical and relevant points in the semester. In an effort to replicate the athletics department success, an initiative began to implement this strategy within an academic college, where data points were accessed and then reported to department chairs and faculty advisors to provide relevant data for a more intrusive advising approach with students who appear on these lists.
When academic advisors collaborate with institutional research professionals on their campuses for such an endeavor, it is important to move beyond the data which is readily available to institutional researchers to find sufficient data points for academic advisors to determine where to focus their student mentoring efforts.
With the student at the center of The University of Texas at Tyler’s efforts, Persistence and Retention Teams have been implemented to streamline employee communication to diminish the silo effect and find resolutions to student issues as efficiently as possible.
In addition to coming back from the NACADA Adminstrators Institute with an Action Plan, the author found that the work she and two colleagues did at the institute spurred valuable conversations within their office and with leaders across campus regarding the importance of investing in academic advising.
As members of NACADA, advisors work toward promoting “the role of effective academic advising in student success” and fostering “inclusive practices within the Association that respect the principle of equity and the diversity of advising professionals across the vast array of intersections of identity” (NACADA, 2018). The charge to utilize advising as a tool for student success while focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion means advisors need to be aware of how they are supporting and fighting for marginalized students and colleagues. Allies support those who are marginalized, seek to make changes so that others can get the credit they are due, and are constantly learning.
Shifting the mindset from treating traditional undergraduate students as adolescents to recognizing them as emerging adults can allow advisors to build genuine and meaningful relationships with their advisees. Utilizing Knowles (1988) six principles of andragogy, not as a checklist but as a mindset, allows advisors to build meaningful, genuine, and authentic relationships.
For decades, higher ed institutions have been pondering how to improve retention and degree completion rates. And yet, in spite of all kinds of programs and centers and initiatives, few have really moved the needle much in the right direction. In the search for the easy answer to a complex question: How can we help our students persist?, institutions have overlooked the fact that we have been asking the wrong question all along. The revision should read: How can we help our student persist? And we need to ask it thousands of times.
Two of the greatest barriers to implementing high-quality early intervention programs are the challenges of generating faculty buy-in and determining a reliable set of predictors. Advisors may be uniquely qualified to serve as intervention agents due to the relationships they form with students, often beginning at orientation.
Every year, the government of The United Arab Emirates grants numerous scholarships to distinguished Emirati students. The author discusses the role of advisors to these students and discusses the challenges they face.
As the profession of academic advising makes its rightful case for stronger integration and recognition from the academy, advisors must consider how their practice not merely compliments but aligns with the already revered role of teaching faculty. While a stereotype persists that academic advising is simply assisting students in class scheduling, those well-versed in the profession understand that a myriad of perspectives, theories, and evidence-based approaches inform what is effective, and oftentimes transformational, advising practice.
This article will help academic advisors understand what ADHD is, how it impacts today’s college students, and what they can do to help those students.
A student’s inability to become socially integrated into the campus community can lead to both institutional and systematic departure. While a sense of belonging is beneficial to all students, it is vital to retain more black male students. Students’ relationships with their academic advisor is one where belonging can develop.
Notes are instrumental for student success and instructors understand that, but do academic advisors?
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) major requirements are unique; advising students in these fields requires unique approaches, supports, and resources.
It is common for undergraduate students to encounter barriers to timely graduation, and some of these barriers are inadvertently placed before students by institutional or administrative structures, routines, practices, and procedures. An office like the University of Texas at Arlington Graduation Help Desk, with the help of the advising community, can make an impact.
The human mind is full of complex emotions and often these emotions drive us to places that we may not have prepared for. As academic advisors, we see students display a range of emotions every day. When deciding the best role for an advisor working with students experiencing negative affective emotions, it may be best to consider an advisor’s training and the context of the situation.
Organized anarchy is presented by the authors as the best organizational structure for meeting the needs of advisors by providing the space to practice both transformational and developmental advising in a way that most effectively meets the wide-ranging needs of students.
Academic advisors are witnessing a growing population of students that identify as first generation. These students need validation that they belong in a university setting and that their degree is attainable.