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Academics > Advising > The Do's of Academic Advising
The Dos of Academic Advising.
  • Appreciate the emotion behind your advisee's words (voice intonation and body language)
  • Constantly try to check your understanding of what you hear (not hear what you want to hear).
  • Do not interrupt your advisee's sentences. Let him/her tell his/her story first.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Fight off external distractions.
  • Constantly check to see if your advisee want to comment or respond to what you have previously said.
  • RELAX - try not to give the impression you want to jump right in and talk.
  • Establish good eye contact.
  • Avoid nervous or bored gestures.
  • Ask clarifying or continuing question (it demonstrates to your advisees that you are involved in what they're saying).
  • Face your advisee squarely. It says that "I'm available to you."
  • Maintain an "open" posture.
  • Recognize the advisee's non-verbal behavior. Examples are bodily movements, gestures, facial expressions. Also recognize the paralinguistic behavior. Examples are tone of voice, inflections, spacing of words, emphases and pauses. This will enable you to respond to the advisee's total message and not just words.
  • Recognize verbal behavior of the advisee. Be an active listener and listen for feelings and content behind the words, not just the words.  Try to recognize if the feeling of the advisee is anger, happiness, frustration, or irritation and see if this conflicts with the words the advisee uses. This will enable you to respond accurately and effectively to the advisee in full perspective.
  • Offer reflections on what the student is saying. Example: "I hear you saying that you aren't completely sure this is the right major for you."
  • Indirect leads allow the student to choose the direction of the discussion. Example:  What would you like to talk about today?"
  • Focusing helps the student zoom in on a particular issue after many issues have been presented. Example:  "We're talking about a lot of things here, which one is most important for you to work on now?"
  • Asking questions using "what" or "how" can help the student give more than "yes," "no," "because," or "I don't know" answers. Example:  "What do you like about this major and what don't you like"
  • Be on time to appointments with advisees.
  • Do what you say you'll do.
  • Refer your advisee to other professionals if necessary.  You are not a therapist.
  • Use the Dean of Students Office as support.

Adapted from Example University Academic Advising Handbook from the NACADA website.

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