I am one of the department’s three Undergraduate Advisors and I have come to love this part of my job. I’ve previously posted about this, but today I want to speak to the little things that I take special care to do in my office. I am well aware that some students are intimidated by this advising thing. They want good news. They really want me to say, “Yes, you’re on the right track to graduate.”
I am an advocate for them and will do what I can with the university policies. But, ultimately they have to take the classes and pass them. I find that listening is the biggest part of advising. Advising takes time. And, I try to establish a rapport with the student. It’s during these moments that I am trying to demystify the hoops that the students have to jump through. Sure, the student could look at the website and check of classes, but some don’t. They want an instructor or advisor to help them with this–to triple check and I’m OK with that.
I have to admit that I do prefer the face to face advising. When I get a rather long-winded email about advising issues, my first response is sending my office hour schedule to the student. There is something about the face to face contact and then the other conversations that come out. Students are more apt to ask about the next term’s courses, work, and letters of reference in advising appointment. I do feel that I can do more face to face, but that’s just me.