Advising Recommendations

Characteristics of a Good Advisor

A good advisor...

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

30 Reminders for Effective Advising:

  1. Care about advisees as people by showing empathy, understanding and respect.
  2. Establish a warm, genuine and open relationship.
  3. Evidence interest, helpful intent and involvement.
  4. Be a good listener.
  5. Establish rapport by remembering personal information about advisees.
  6. Be available; keep office hours and appointments.
  7. Provide accurate information.
  8. When in doubt, refer to catalog (Bulletin), advisor handouts, student handbook, etc.
  9. Know how and when to make referrals and be familiar with referral sources.
  10. Do not refer to hastily; on the other hand, do not attempt to handle situation for which you are not qualified.
  11. Have students contact referral source in your presence.
  12. Keep in frequent contact with advisees; take the initiative; do not always wait for students to come to you.
  13. Do not make decisions for students; help them make their own decisions.
  14. Focus on advisees' strength and potentials rather than limitations.
  15. Seek our advisees in informal settings.
  16. Monitor advisees' progress toward education goals.
  17. Determine reasons for poor academic performance and direct advisees to appropriate support services.
  18. Be realistic with advisees.
  19. Use all available information sources.
  20. Clearly outline advisees' responsibilities.
  21. Follow up on commitments made to advisees.
  22. Encourage advisees to consider and develop conversations for future reference.
  23. Keep an anecdotal record of significant conversation for future reference.
  24. Evaluate the effectiveness of your advising.
  25. Do not be critical of other faculty or staff to advisees.
  26. Be knowledgeable about career opportunities and job outlook for various majors.
  27. Encourage advisees to talk by asking open-ended questions.
  28. Do not betray confidential information.
  29. Categorize advisees' questions; are they seeking action, information, or involvement and understanding.
  30. Be yourself and allow advisees to be themselves.

Advising Expectations


  • Serve as student advocates, providing accurate and up to date information about requirements and expectations within the major field, the core requirements, college policy and college procedures.
  • Introduce students to possibilities and expectations within their discipline, both during and beyond the baccalaureate program.
  • Provide assistance to students in tracking their academic progress (i.e., review audit and departmental program sheets regularly with students).
  • Assist students to develop strategies and individual plans which will maintain good academic standing (i.e., study habits, managing time, setting priorities, etc.).
  • Introduce students to academic opportunities (internships, coop, honors, exchange programs, etc.) available through the institution of through the discipline.
  • Provide students with useful and accessible referrals to other sources of information and assistance as necessary.


  • Know the requirements and expectations within the major field, the core requirements, college policies and procedures.
  • Meet early in your academic career with your advisor to develop an academic plan which will guide your completion of the baccalaureate degree.
  • Meet regularly with your department advisor to update your progress within program. Students should be responsible for maintaining an academic file (i.e., WSU Bulletin, academic audit sheets , grade reports, registration records, changes of grade, changes of major, etc.). Consider keeping an academic portfolio, as well, for your benefit in employment and professional interviews.
  • Know what it means to maintain satisfactory academic standing (i.e., satisfactory q.p.a. by attempted credits: 0-23 credits >=1.5; 24-47 credits >= 1.75; 48+ credits >=2.0)
  • Explore with your advisor various academic opportunities (internships, coop, honors, exchange programs, etc.) available through the institution or through the discipline.
  • Speak with your advisor to learn about the various academic resources available (tutorial services, study skills workshops, etc.) to support your success.