Jul 24, 2024  
University Policy Library 
University Policy Library

Advising Objectives and Advisor Responsibilities

Objectives of Academic Advising

  • Academic advising helps students obtain the maximum benefit from their educational experience by helping them to understand the opportunities Andrews University offers
  • Academic advising helps students determine short- and long-term goals based on aptitudes and interests, and helps outline a course of study that will facilitate the attainment of their goals
  • Academic advising involves listening with sympathetic understanding to students’ academic concerns and other related problems, making the appropriate referrals when necessary
  • Through academic advising all students have the opportunity to develop an on-going, individual interaction with a concerned representative of Andrews University.  The student may develop a positive view of the university based on his/her interaction with an academic advisor.


Advisor Responsibilities

  • Be available to students on a regular basis and be conscientious about keeping scheduled office hours for advising conferences. This is especially important during registration and drop/add periods.
  • Establish a relationship and rapport with advisees.
  • Discuss long-range educational and vocational goals, and assist in planning appropriate academic programs.
  • Maintain a record of actions and significant discussions for each advisee (with dates) which will complement the advisee information available to you through iVue. 
  • Know about, and access, resource materials such as the bulletin, class schedule, and the student handbook which may answer questions about academic and non-academic policies and procedures.
  • Read iVue alerts posted about your advisees and follow-up with the student and others for intervention as needed.
  • Help resolve academic difficulties.
  • Know about resource persons and centers for student referral.  These resources may include staff in the deans’ offices, The Office of Undergraduate Education, Student Success Center, Records Office, Student Financial Services, Counseling and Testing Center, Student Life, and International Student Services as well as the various academic skills centers on campus.
  • Encourage advisees to make appointments with you as needed for registration, performance review, and/or discussion.
  • Help students in their decision-making processes relating to course choices, vocational decisions, and personal problems, referring to appropriate campus staff where necessary.

NOTE:  Advisors. Students are assigned academic advisors based on the major chosen. Advisors function as academic guidance counselors to help students to schedule their courses, to learn how to follow academic rules and regulations, and to make decisions regarding their future. Although advisors assist students, the responsibility for meeting degree requirements and knowing the rules which govern academic matters always rests with the individual student. (from AU Bulletin) 

Characteristics of a Good Advisor

A good advisor

  • Is personally and professionally interested in being an advisor
  • Sets aside enough regularly scheduled time to meet the advising needs of his/her advisees
  • Knows university policy and practice in sufficient detail to provide students with accurate, usable information
  • Listens constructively, attempting to hear all aspects of a problem
  • Refers students to other sources of information and assistance when referral seems to be the best response to the students’ needs
  • Attempts to understand students’ concerns from a student point of view
  • Views long-range planning, as well as immediate problem-solving, as essential parts of effective advising
  • Shares his/her advising skills with working colleagues who are also actively involved with advising
  • Continually attempts to improve both the style and the substance of his/her advising role
  • Willingly and actively participates in advisor development programs


Resources for Advisors:

For information on Appreciative Advising: http://www.appreciativeadvising.net/

For information on NACADA, the NAtional ACademic ADvising Association: https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/

NACADA’s resource link: https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources.aspx

NACADA’s Clearing House posts articles on various advising topics: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse.aspx

Establishing the Advising Relationship

The Advising Contact:

  • Encourage advisees to take an active part in their academic planning
  • Go over advising tools with your students in the first semester
  • Utilize DegreeWorks to create an academic plan

Clarification and Summarizing:

  • Ask for clarification of what you understood the student to say – this gives them a chance to “set the record straight” and correct misunderstandings immediately.  Simply stating “it seems you are saying…”  or, as needed, using more direct questions, will improve communication in the advising setting
  • During an advising session, and certainly at the end of one, summarize what has transpired in the session. Email a summary of your meeting to the student

Open-Ended Questions:

  • Use open-ended questions as a way to get a discussion going.  Avoid questions that can be answered by simple yes/no answers. 

Responsibility and Ownership:

  • If you request an advisee to complete certain steps in preparation for the next advising session, be sure to review these at the beginning of your next session together

Refusals or Saying No:

  • Refusals are a part of life!  When this is required, tell the advisee what you refuse to do, explain why, and offer some alternatives that you might consider

Notes and Follow-up:

  • A short, written summary of the advising session will prove helpful as a “check point” at the next advising session
  • One way to do this is to write a short e-mail to the student (keeping a copy for yourself) listing the main points of the session and any expectations you have


  • Refer the student to a specific person (if you unsure where to refer, make a phone call or two to avoid a “run around” for him/her). Follow-up if needed.


  • Listening to your advisee’s point of view may reveal new possibilities and perspectives

Referral Skills

Do not Refer Too Quickly

  • Have a clear understanding of the student’s question/problem/situation before making a referral.  Know enough to make an accurate and productive referral.

Know Referral Sources

  • Be well acquainted with campus resources to know exactly what kind of help the student will receive.

Clarify Why

  • Tell the student specifically why a referral is being made – this may eliminate doubts and hesitation on the part of the student.

Explain Service and Expectation

  • What benefit can the student expect from this referral?  Will there be a wait for the services needed? Is an appointment needed?  Who should the student contact? Will there be a charge for this service?
  • Telling a student about services available to help them is the advisor’s responsibility – the student must decide whether to use the services or not.

Make the Referral to a Specific Person (if possible)

  • This encourages students to follow through and eases the initial contact.
  • Give the student the person’s contact information – phone number, office number, and e-mail

Assist Student in Making Appointment

  • This ensures that the student has an appointment and encourages follow through.

Follow Up with Student

  • Did the student have any difficulty getting the recommended services?
  • Was there a problem anywhere?
  • Respect the student’s rights, privacy, and choice in referrals and remember that a student may choose to not accept help offered.

Academic Advising and Confidentiality

Andrews University complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.  This law is commonly referred to as “FERPA.” 

FERPA provides students with certain privacy rights in their educational records and, except in limited circumstances, educational records may not be released to anyone outside the institution without prior authorization by students. Students who are currently enrolled (or were enrolled in the past), regardless of age or status, are the ones protected by FERPA. The University’s policy dealing with FERPA are explained in the Andrews University Bulletin at this link.

By completing the FERPA Contacts on-line through iVue or preVue, students will enable the University to fully communicate with parents, guardians, and/or other individuals whose involvement may be important to students’ success at Andrews University.  Students access this form on-line through iVue or through preVue.

How does FERPA affect advisors’ interactions with parents?

If a parent calls on behalf of a son or daughter, you, as advisor should check the student’s iVue profile (accessed through Vault) to see if FERPA contact designations are in place. 

If “No” is recorded next to the FERPA Contacts Designation the only information you should give the parent is general information about the university and its policies with regards to students. 

You may tell the parent that the university is unable to release student information without consent by the student.  This, alone, will often result in the student logging on and completing designations, however, the student may revoke the permission granted at any time. 

Checking the iVue profile before you speak with a parent is always the best practice.

 If “Yes” is recorded next to the FERPA Contacts Designation line, click on the “Yes” to access the name(s) the student has listed.  You will be able to speak specifically about the student to the person(s) listed in iVue.