Advisor/Advisee Relationship

A good advisor/advisee relationship is an integral component of DSU's success as it not only helps students to make critical decisions regarding their education, but also helps them to establish a personal connection to DSU. Research demonstrates that such a connection is vital to student success and retention. In order to establish this personal connection, academic advisors must demonstrate concern for advisees as individuals. Advisees are more likely to value the information and follow the advice given when they feel their faculty advisor is genuinely interested and concerned with their progress.

A successful advisor/advisee relationship should go beyond simply prescribing a set of courses for which a student should register. To be truly effective, an advisor should go beyond routine course scheduling and foster a process that helps advisees achieve their academic and career goals. This process should evolve gradually from the advisee's freshman to senior year. Where students are in this progression helps to determine what kind of assistance they need from you. The following chart identifies these stages, provides examples of some academic and personal issues within each stage, and gives examples of how you may respond.

Academic
Personal
Advisor's Role
Freshmen
Fearful of failing
Unsure of requirements
Confused / unrealistic expectations
New academic demands
Vague career goals
Managing emotions
Finding a social fit
Exposure to new values
Increased financial worries
Separation from family
Adjusting to life changes
Be accessible
Be a good listener
Provide support
Give information on requirements, courses
Be nonjudgmental
Make referrals
Sophomore
More aware of expectations
Tired of school
Impatient to get into major
Pressure to find a major
Mixed confidence level
Increased self-awareness
Developing support systems
Campus involvement
Encourage further exploration
Help with assessment of skills
Focus options on realistic choices
Junior
Settling into a major or desperately seeking one
Looking for enhancements (e.g., minor, specialization, or double major)
Developing faculty relations
Applying learning
Juggling work, study, and free time
Becoming more confident
Looking beyond college
Participating in leadership roles in organizations
Begin mentor relationship
Provide information on graduate school/careers
Discuss internship possibilities
Encourage creativity to enhance degree
Senior
Winding down
Applying and integrating knowledge
Commencing job search/preparing for grad school
Completing a graduation audit
Nervous, stressed
Unsure of future
Transition to independent adult
Assist with graduation audit
Continue discussion of career
Continue mentor relationship
Write recommendations

As the chart makes clear, advisees' needs evolve as the students mature and progress academically. A good advising relationship must evolve with these changes.


Last Updated: 7/31/12