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Teaching Excellence Center

10 Tips for Advisors


1. Establish expectations early.  Ask your students to set up an appointment, arrive on time, and notify you if they need to change or cancel.  Expect them to arrive with materials in hand—catalog, course schedule, pen and paper.


2. If you’re new to advising, keep your early goals modest.  It’s enough in the first year to know (or know where to find) and be able to explain basic academic policies, regulations and procedures that are most important, most used, and most likely to affect students.

3. Establish some development goals for yourself as an advisor as you gain more experience.  Use campus resources to help you learn more.

4. Get into a routine for how you conduct advising sessions to make sure you cover everything and provide consistent service.  Review your student’s record and schedule before you meet.

5. Decide how and how much you will keep records on your interactions with advisees.  Keep notes objective; remember that a student’s complaint can require you to turn over your notes in a dispute.  If you make a referral, jot it down so you can inquire about it later.

6. Know your sources!  Don’t hesitate to admit that you don’t know all the answers, and keep a list of people and sources that can help.

7. Make sure you understand how FERPA applies to encounters with students’ family members.

8. Consider advising an extension of your teaching.  You can help your students learn about personal responsibility, decision making and planning in ways that will help them academically, too.

9. Encourage your students to see advising as something more than scheduling and hold removal.  Registration is only one good reason to see an advisor!

10. Give your students options.  They need alternatives when they have trouble registering for classes.