A two-tier model of faculty academic advising —
choosing the best model for your advisees
What college students may need from academic advising can range from basic study skills to sophisticated guidance in critical self-examination and career exploration. Deciding what topics to discuss with your advisees depends a great deal upon their level of personal development and academic progress. Advising expert David Crockett distinguishes two broad approaches to advising, developmental advising and academic mentoring, to address students' advising needs.
Tier one: developmental advising
- Transition advising: Study skills, time management, college adjustment issues.
- Self-information: Why did you come to college? What are your larger goals for college?
- Academic information (Bulletin, UCCS and college requirements, policies and procedures).
- Career information (choosing a major, courses complementary to a major, minor opportunities).
- Monitoring adjustment (academic load, choice of major, academic performance as affected by other factors).
- UCCS and college requirements (specifics, as well as understanding the nature of liberal education).
- Course selection (registration, balancing course load with abilities).
- Developing academic plans (long-range academic goals, possible study abroad, possible second major or minor).
- Appropriate referrals.
The special developmental advising needs of freshmen
- Ask the student how he/she feels about his/her experience at Marquette.
- Review the student's study plan. Is the plan being followed?
- Encourage contact with instructors.
- If the student is unduly anxious, suggest appropriate referrals: Counseling Center workshops on study skills, test-taking anxiety, time management and/or personal counseling; Campus Ministry; the Writing Center; Office of Student Educational Services; Office of Student Affairs.
- Discuss the student's most difficult and/or most time-consuming class. Explore his/her learning habits for this course, and devise strategies for dealing with the most challenging aspects.
- Discuss personal concerns insofar as they relate to academic progress: roommate, job and hours, exercise, etc., and, if necessary, refer student to other resources.
- Assure the student of your availability for any concern. Remind them of resources available for preparing for midterms and of your registration advising conference just after midterms.
Tier two: academic mentoring
(Addresses needs of many juniors, most seniors)
- Course selection and advice (good/bad combinations, sequences, major changes).
- Monitor academic progress and graduation requirements (linking academic performance to employment, graduate/professional school opportunities).
- Encourage good academic performance.
- Link program of study with opportunities beyond graduation.
- Consideration of explicit graduate programs.
- Appropriate referrals.
Suggested topics for registration advising session
This meeting should occur during the announced registration advising period, shortly after mid-semester. Advisers should be available to meet with all assigned advisees during advising week and arrange a convenient way for students to sign up for appointments. The two primary topics of discussion for the registration advising session are mid-term grades and course selection. Time permitting you may also discuss possible topics such as study abroad and internship opportunities, graduate school, and career choices.
Discussing mid-term grades
- Review mid-term grades and discuss as needed.
- Help the student make a realistic assessment of each class.
- Raise several issues in a course where the student is performing poorly. Ask the student what has been done thus far to earn the grade assigned. Ask about specific grades for tests, papers, quizzes and homework.
- Try to discern the problem. Is it poor study habits, lack of motivation, lack of interest or personal problems?
- Discuss specific steps the student can take to improve his/her grades before the withdrawal deadline.
- Make sure the student is aware of the services offered by Student Educational Services, as well as other university or college-specific resources that may be available.
- Ask about attendance. Remind the student that he/she may be dropped for excessive absences, receiving a permanent grade of WA.
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of withdrawing from a class, and whether this should be done immediately, after the next test or not at all.
- Keep Counseling Center workshops and university tutorial services in mind and urge student's participation in appropriate offerings.
- Help students set realistic goals to improve their classroom performance.
- Assure the student of your availability for any concern. Remind them of resources available for preparing for midterms, and of your registration advising conference just after midterms.
Discussing course selection
Advisers should be aware of each student's curricular progress and make appropriate suggestions regarding courses in the advisee's primary interest area.