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A Student's Perspective: 4 Academic Advising Best Practices

by Erin O'Shaughnessy | July 27, 2021
A Student's Perspective: 4 Academic Advising Best Practices

A Student's Perspective: 4 Things That Make My Academic Advisor Amazing

Academic Advisors are an integral part of a college student’s life, especially a freshman's. COVID raised the value of advisors and no one needs to convince me that I should go see my advisor! The last year has crystalized four elements that I believe make my advisor amazing.

1. Be available.

Sometimes I needed a quick bit of validation, other times I wanted to have more of a philosophical conversation. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about majors, work, and how to be successful. Knowing that I could independently make an appointment on a specific person’s calendar (and get that helpful reminder the night before) reduced my anxiety and also gave me more empathy in realizing that my advisor is busy helping so many other students.

I also appreciated that if I had a quick question, I could drop a quick text and she could either give me the answer or tell me that it actually wasn’t a quick question and we needed to chat. (That saved me the wait and reaffirmed that she was really listening and wanted to give me the right information!)

Communicating with your students during the Coronavirus

2. Help with specifics.

I know that schools, especially my school, have been really good about giving students options. Choosing any class I want sounds good in theory. But, sometimes, there are just too many and I had some serious analysis paralysis about making a decision that shouldn’t have been so hard.

It meant a lot to me that she could provide more details on the decision I was making and help me understand the consequences of decisions with certain classes. Turns out, she pointed me in the direction of a popular faculty member who [was totally awesome] and now I am adding a minor!

3. Appreciate that this is all new [to me].

I really admired that my advisor never took her knowledge for granted. She brings all of this wisdom to our meetings but never projected or patronized. Rather, she acknowledged that EVERYTHING was new to me and I had never had so many options, so many decisions, or so much on the line --- money, career, confidence.

I believe that she has helped me be a better decision maker in general because I am asking questions or thinking about the context of my decisions in ways that I have never considered before. And, every time this happens, I trust her insight and direction more and more. She had recommended that I meet with the Career Center when I first got to campus; I didn’t go then. However, I finally had the meeting in my second semester -- why didn’t I go during my first? She was right; they are so helpful!

4. Work on timing.

I don’t know how my advisor knows all the things that I need to do and how those things will impact other things I have to do. Some people get this big email full of words and to-dos which look overwhelming. Not my advisor --- she sends me a list in order of what I have to do with the contact information on who can help me. Then, if I am behind schedule, she sends me a text reminding me I have to get it done.

This really helped me especially during add/drop when I didn’t realize that I really only had 24 hours to make a change that impacted me both financially and academically. It turns out she sends the same message to everyone, but only sends a reminder if I need to take action. It feels like she really wants to know what I am thinking and that I feel comfortable with my decisions.


As a rising college sophomore in college, I’ve never needed an advisor more and feel like if everyone had my advisor, everyone would graduate on time and be happy.

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about how to best support your students, be sure to register for our webinar: Appreciate Advising with Ashley Bigard. Additionally, download our COVID 2.0: Bridging the Freshman-Sophomore Gap Ebook if you’re interested in a detailed overview of strategies that you can implement to support student success, retention, and long-term outcomes.

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