Academic Advising Resources



  • Academic advising takes place in "situations in which an institutional representative gives insight or direction to a college student about an academic, social, or personal matter. The nature of this direction might be to inform, suggest, counsel, discipline, coach, mentor, or even teach" (p. 3). Kuhn, T. (2008). Historical Foundations of Academic Advising. In Gordon, Habley and Grites. Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Campus Process. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

A NACADA Task Force has studied the comprehensive and complex task of defining academic advising. Their efforts have garnered the NACADA Concept of Academic Advising. Below are some of the definitions compiled for the Task Force's use in its endeavor.

  • "Advising is a process in which advisor and advisee enter a dynamic relationship respectful of the student's concerns. Ideally, the advisor serves as teacher and guide in an interactive partnership aimed at enhancing the student's self-awareness and fulfillment." O'Banion, T. (1972). An academic advising model. Junior College Journal, 42, 62-69. 
  • Burns Crookston's definition of developmental advising: "... Developmental counseling or advising is concerned not only with a specific personal or vocational decision but also with facilitating the student's rational processes, environmental and interpersonal interactions, behavior awareness, and problem-solving, decision-making, and evaluation skills" Quoted by Burton and Wellington. Burton, John and Wellington, Kathy, (1998). The O'Banion model of academic advising: An integrative approach. NACADA Journal, 18(2),13-20. 

Crookston, B. B. (1972). A developmental view of academic advising as teaching. Journal of College Student Personnel, volume 13, pp. 12-17. Article reprinted in NACADA Journal, 14 (2), 5-9.

  • "Developmental Advising - A Definition"...A systematic process based on a close student-advisor relationship intended to aid students in achieving educational, career, and personal goals through the use of the full range of institutional and community resources.

    Quoted by William G. Hendey. Developmental Advising: A Practical View. Published in The Mentor on January 20, 1999 http://www.psu.e d u/dus/mentor/990115wh.htm

Winston, Jr. R. B., Enders, S. C., & Miller, T. K. (Eds.) (March 1982). Developmental approaches to academic advising. New Directions for Student Services, 17.

  • "Academic advising is a developmental process which assists students in the clarification of their life/career goals and in the development of educational plans for the realization of these goals. It is a decision-making process by which students realize their maximum educational potential through communication and information exchanges with an advisor; it is ongoing, multifaceted, and the responsibility of both student and advisor. The advisor serves as a facilitator of communication, a coordinator of learning experiences through course and career planning and academic progress review, and an agent of referral to other campus agencies as necessary." 

Quoted on the PBS teleconference: Academic Advising: Campus Collaborations to Foster Retention aired via satellite. November 4, 1999.

  • Academic advising is a process of information exchange that empowers students to realize their maximum educational potential. The advising process is student-centered and will result in the student gaining a clearer understanding of himself/herself, and the experience of higher education.

David S. Crockett, Ed. (1987). Advising Skills, Techniques and Resources: A Compilation of Materials Related to the Organization and Delivery of Advising Services. Iowa City, Iowa. ACT Corporation.

  • Academic advising is a collaborative relationship between a student and an academic advisor. The intent of this collaboration is to assist the student in the development of meaningful educational goals that are consistent with personal interests, values and abilities. Although many individuals on campus, including academic advisors, may assist the student in making decisions and accomplishing goals, the academic advisor is granted formal authority by an academic unit (college, school, department) to approve the student's academic program of study and assist the student in progressing toward the appropriate degree. University of Michigan - Dearborn (2002).
  • "Academic Advising is a process in which students seek and receive guidance with academic program planning, usually from a faculty advisor. Meaningful educational planning is compatible with a student's life goals, therefore academic advising encompasses discussion of life goals and assistance with the developmental process of life goals clarification. The ultimate responsibility for making decisions about educational plans and life goals rests with the individual student. Assistance with the clarification of life goals is not limited to the academic advising relationship, and may include staff in areas such as career development, residential life, and counseling. For academic advisors, assisting students in the clarification of life goals means helping students explore and define their educational and career goals in an atmosphere of mutual respect and learning. Advising, while non-prescriptive, encourages students to think critically, seek out resources, and develop action steps. The desired result is that students will feel a sense of connection with the advisor and a sense of guidance, while realizing personal responsibility for exploring options and making decisions." University of Arizona.

The following are all excerpts from the Noel-Levitz Participant Book/Resource Guide (1997). Introduction and Foundation, Academic Advising for Student Success and Retention. Iowa City, Iowa : USA Group Noel-Levitz.

  • Academic advising is a planning process that helps students to approach their education in an organized and meaningful way. Advising brings together all of the major dynamics in a student's life. Edward "Chip" Anderson. (Noel-Levitz, 1997, p. 1 & 3.)
  • Academic advising is a process of teaching students how to become responsible consumers of their own educations. It's also a process that involves teaching students how to make viable academic decisions. Juliet Kaufmann (Noel-Levitz, 1997, p. 1 & 3.)
  • Advising is a process of giving students guidance, support and encouragement. (Noel-Levitz, 1997, p. 3.)
  • Advising is a process of helping students diminish the confusion that comes with a new environment, clarify their goals and get the most out of their education. (Noel-Levitz, 1997, p. 3.)
  • Academic advising is an interactive process in which the adviser helps the student set and achieve academic goals, acquire relevant information and services, and make responsible decisions consistent with interests, goals, abilities, and degree requirements. Decisions concerning careers and/or graduate study may be part of the advising process. Advising should be personalized to consider the special needs of each student, which may include appropriate referral services.

University of Oklahoma

  • Academic Advising is the process of helping students match the College's resources to their needs and goals so that they get the maximum benefit from their college experience and, at graduation, are prepared for life after college. Academic advisors help students plan their academic careers through the creation of a partnership. This includes preparing for registration, resolving academic problems, and offering academic/educational advice. Academic advisors should also be able to assist students with planning for internships and employment opportunities within their disciplines as well as advising about graduate and professional school applications. Also, academic advisors should listen carefully when personal problems are revealed and, when necessary, make referrals to the relevant office.

The College of New Jersey (2002).

  • Academic advising goes beyond the clerical functions of scheduling classes and preparing degree plans. Good academic advising assists students in clarifying personal and career goals, developing consistent educational goals, and evaluating the progress toward established goals. Academic advising utilizes the resources of the University and refers students to the appropriate academic support services. It is a decision -making process in which the sharing of information between student and advisor promotes responsible and appropriate choices and facilitates a successful academic experience.

Western New Mexico University as retrieved on 07/08/05

  • Academic advising, along with teaching, research, and service, is central to achieving the fundamental goals of higher education. Academic advising is an intentional educational process that requires concern for and consideration of all these fundamental goals. Of particular importance to academic advising are: teaching students to understand the meaning of higher education; teaching students to understand the purpose of the curriculum; and fostering students’ intellectual and personal development toward academic success and lifelong learning. Though it may vary from one context to another, in every setting academic advising is a multidimensional and intentional process, grounded in teaching and learning, with its own purpose, content, and specified outcomes.

Cite the above resource using APA style as:

NACADA. (2003). Paper presented to the Task force on defining academic advising. Retrieved from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources website:

Note: The citation listed above should be used only if referencing the entire article. If you are using only one or two of the quotations listed, APA advises retrieval and reference of the original source for each quotation used.

Additional Resources

*All site links are member suggested; listing of commercial sites does not imply NACADA endorsement.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
The contents of all material on this Internet site are copyrighted by the National Academic Advising Association, unless otherwise indicated. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of an original work prepared by a U.S. or state government officer or employee as part of that person's official duties. All rights are reserved by NACADA, and content may not be reproduced, downloaded, disseminated, published, or transferred in any form or by any means, except with the prior written permission of NACADA, or as indicated or as indicated in the 'Copyright Information for NACADA Materials' statement. Copyright infringement is a violation of federal law and is subject to criminal and civil penalties. NACADA and National Academic Advising Association are service marks of the National Academic Advising Association.

Index of Topics
Advising Resources

Do you have questions?  Do you need help with an advising topic? 
Email us.