Advising Best Practices

Gathered by the Advisory Council for Comprehensive Academic Advising (ACCAA)

Training & Development

  1. Collaborate and consult with UARC advising liaison regularly.
    • Meet 1:1 for training on topics that you don’t fully understand, consult on issues that are not working, etc.
    • Ask for training and updates in department meetings.
    • Ask for help developing tools to help you organize and manage advising related information
  2. Attend campus sessions/webinars related to advising
  3. Review Advising Snapshot thoroughly – electronic monthly newsletter for faculty advisors


Individual Advising Appointments

  1. Ask open ended questions
  2. Teach students how to ask questions; coach on how to advocate for themselves
  3. Create a checklist of key topics to cover to keep on track.  Share the checklist with students so they know what to expect in an advising appointment.  Can create specific checklists for different student/appointment types (ie: new to major, graduation check, etc.)
  4. Call another office prior to referral to be sure it is the correct referral for the situation.  Refer to a specific person within an office whenever possible.  Provide whatever information you can about what the student should expect when they arrive at the referral office (ie: reception desk vs. individual office, appt. required or not, etc.)
  5. If there are 2 or 3 offices you refer to regularly make an effort to get to know the staff, the physical location, etc.  The more knowledgeable and confident you are about the referral the more likely the student will follow through.
  6. Require students to prepare for individual or group advising appointments with a list of questions, remaining requirements and proposed classes.
  7. When a student has not done something they should have (ie: take a particular course) and they indicate the reason is because of poor advising elsewhere (ie: nobody told me, told me the wrong thing) follow up with the individual advisor.  Doing this will usually result in one of two things happening; 1. You will discover the student was advised properly and made a poor decision or mistake; this is an excellent teachable moment, or 2. The advisor will learn from it and be less likely to make the same mistake again.
  8. Use tools on UARC website.
  9. Show students how to find various information/tools on department, UARC and other websites.
  10. Require students to bring STAR to each appointment.  Go through each section of STAR, together, checking to be sure student understands how to read it.
  11. Ask about other areas of the students’ life.  Help students plan with other commitments, challenges and goals in mind.


Departmental Advising Strategies

    1. Send introductory e-mail (sample) to students when they are first assigned to a faculty/departmental advisor that clearly describes the  department advising process and expectations of students
    2. Incorporate academic planning and career exploration into a course/s for the major
    3. Group advising by level in the major
    4. Use of registration holds to require advising
    5. Develop an Advising Handbook
    6. Clearly represent ALL program requirements on the department website in easy to find, printable format
    7. Partner with Career Services to provide information in classes, to student clubs, at group advising, etc.
    8. Require students to complete a 2 year/4 year/graduation plan (as appropriate).  Review and update each semester.
    9. Ask students to write reflections about their experience in college, how it is preparing them for the future
    10. Explain how to plan completion of all requirements (USP, degree, major) and the value and purpose of each.
    11. Provide course offering projections on department website as early as possible to promote and aid in planning.
    12. Introduce students to other opportunities; elective courses – especially in areas that are unrelated to the major or where the relationship is not known to students, minors, student clubs/activities, volunteering, study abroad, collaborative research, etc.