Section 2: Advising Resources, Suggestions, and Techniques
Please note that more recent versions of the Advisors Handbook as well as expansions and clarifications of specific sections may exist in hardcopy. Registrar Phil Apodaca, Associate Dean of the College Victor Nelson-Cisneros, and the Dean's Office can provide current information. Always check the most recent edition of the Colorado College Catalog for information about policies and courses. Do not assume that this is the most recent articulation of the College's policies or procedures.
The Colorado College Advising Handbook, Section 2:
- Use the free lunch program for students and faculty to get know advisees. Take a group of advisees (all the first year students or all the juniors, etc.) to lunch at Rastall. Lunch is a great opportunity to informally get acquainted.
- Post office hours and stick to them! Few frustrations are as commonly shared with the CCCA as that of not being able to find a particular professor, particularly at crucial advising times like registration. Doing so reaffirms a faculty member's commitment to working with students and alleviates many student frustrations.
- Make home phone number and times that it is acceptable to call available. Students and advisors alike will benefit from a willingness to communicate on a less than formal basis. Students will not abuse a privilege like this, but they will use it in urgent situations. Students have expressed frustration with having a home phone number and not knowing when to call. Try to solve this ahead of time.
- Get all first year advisees together with the faculty advisor, peer advisors and /or upperclass advisees to chat. Upper class students have a lot to share from experience, and first year students have a lot to learn. Getting all advisees together can generate constructive dialogue and enhances advisor-advisee rapport. The CCCA recommends getting everyone together twice a year, during second block registration for first year students and during pre-registration in the Spring.
- Take a moment to drop a note to or call your advisees, particularly first year students. The CCCA recommends doing so at least at the beginning of the academic year, and during registration periods. Although the majority of students agreed on the survey that it is primarily the student's responsibility to approach the faculty advisor, a fair number of students conceded that they had not approached their advisor first. In the interest of generating dialogue and thoughtful guidance to those students who may need it the most, a simple note inviting the student over is strong preventive medicine.
- Obtain labels from the administrative computing office with advisee names and addresses on them. This will assure that it is relatively easy to send off notices to advisees, even when the block gets unusually busy.
- Propose that your advisees feel free to change advisors when they see fit to do so. A problem with the advising program is that students often do not feel comfortable changing advisors for fear that their current advisor will not like or support the idea. A word from the outset about the advisor's willingness to support what is best for the students can ensure that students find the best advising for them.
- Be familiar with the point system. Some students have a great deal of trouble with the point system and often need guidance with the basics. You do not have to be a tipster, but you should be able to explain how the system works.
- Refer advisees to advisors in other departments who will provide quality advising on subjects they may be more familiar with.
A Checklist of General Ideas and Suggestions for the First-time Advisor
Adapted from "Strategies of Advisement," Houston Baptist University, as found in Crockett, David S., ed. Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 765-766.
- Read and/or review the Academic Advisor's Handbook periodically.
- Evaluate the student's SAT or ACT reports, admissions application essays and response to the Advising Questionnaire with regard to educational goals.
- Maintain an advising folder on each of your advisees. The folder should include:
- A copy of the student's admission application and essays;
- A copy of the student's advising questionnaire;
- A copy of the student's SAT or ACT scores and reports;
- An information sheet which includes the student's educational goals; any acknowledged personal or academic difficulties; hobbies, sports, work plans, summer plans, activities etc.; notes about advice given the student; and student follow-up.
- Copies of the student's pre-registration course schedule card as signed; copies of the pre-registration results;
- Copies of the student's Degree Progress Reports and transcripts;
- See or contact each advisee at least twice a semester. Schedule more conferences as necessary.
- Post your office hours and keep them consistently. Be available to students by appointment as well. Tell them how to make an appointment to see you.
- Follow-up on students who receive No Credits or Incomplete. Inquire about their difficulties and help them seek out assistance from the Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of the College.
- Follow-up on students who take a leave of absence or are considering withdrawing from the College.
First meeting with your advisee.
This is the time for you and your advisee to get to know each other. Talk about why your student decided to go to College, why she or he decided to attend Colorado College specifically, what she wants to accomplish at the College and how she wants to grow. This conversation may be wide-ranging or it may focus on the specific educational goals your advisee may have. Whatever direction and tone the conversation takes, you want to get to know your advisee as a person. You want to expand and test the impressions you formed from reading your student's admissions application essays and the advising questionnaire. Get to know your advisee's values and aspirations.
Discussing a student's goals will give both of you a foundation for the more detailed discussions you will have later when the student registers for blocks three through eight or when your student begins to think about a major. This conversation will also help your discussion of requirements, prerequisites, course sequences, and the need for a responsible balance between studying and participating in extra-curricular activities. You want to communicate the importance of activities outside of the classroom and a regimen of sports or exercise to successful learning.
Emphasized below are basic strategies of advising to assist in individual student development. Please review them carefully.
Adapted from "Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes Required for Developmental Advising," in O'Banion, Terry. "An Academic Advising Model," AAJC Journal, March, 1972 as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.). Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 131-132.
- Become acquainted with your advisee. Getting to know your advisees outside the formality of the office when possible, and not only during registration or unusual circumstances, can be extremely valuable. Knowing the academic abilities and background of the advisee is also important. Having good documentation (the advising folder) , such as rank in graduating class, ACT or SAT scores, Advanced Placement credit and transfer courses and grades from other universities, and present academic status is essential when assessing a student's ability and future direction.
- Explore the objectives, interests, and motivations of the advisee. The advisee's actual commitment to future objectives and goals is difficult to ascertain. When the advisor has some knowledge of the advisee's non-academic background, such as home influence, hobbies, and friends, more thorough advising is possible.
- Develop rapport with your advisee. If the student knows the advisor as a professional person who has a genuine interest in students, the advising process becomes much more beneficial for both advisor and advisee. The student should be encouraged to become acquainted with other faculty members at the College; multiple contacts can be useful to the student who is attempting to assess his or her personal goals.
- Become knowledgeable concerning College rules, policies, regulations, and procedures which affect academic programs and activity. Every advisor must be well informed regarding current academic policies and procedures for these are the foundations on which all advising efforts will be built. Review of prior policies and study of new policy changes should be a regular activity of each advisor before beginning each registration period. Familiarity with courses generally taken by advisees, the characteristics of teachers of the courses, and how the courses have been appraised by prior students can make the advising process smoother and more successful. Suggestions for student involvement in campus activities may sometimes be the key to retention in school.
- Evaluate student motivation. Enhancing a student's motivation by capitalizing on good academic planning can be a very helpful strategy. While lack of motivation is generally recognized as the most common cause of poor academic performance, no clear cut methods to help a student achieve maximum motivation have been developed. Suggested strategies might include:
- Matching courses early in the program to the student's academic strengths, interests, and background.
- Helping the student, when possible, have a chance to build on success rather than failure.
- Challenging capable students to continue their efforts toward academic excellence.
- Explaining the rewards of a strong academic program and associated good grades.
- Be aware of the limitations of your responsibility in the advising process. Obviously, an advisor cannot make decisions for an advisee, but can be a sympathetic listener and offer various alternatives for the advisee's consideration. Advisors cannot increase the ability of a student, but can encourage the maximum use of that ability. While advisors cannot change some aspects of class schedules or student employment loads, the students can be referred to the proper offices for such adjustments when desirable.
- Seek to determine the level of advisement appropriate for your own comfort and training. Generally, advisors should not attempt to handle personally complex problems concerning financial aid, mental or physical health, personal or social counseling. When these situations do arise, the faculty advisor should refer students to professional personnel who are specially trained and knowledgeable about dealing with such problems.
Referring of Students to College Offices and Resources
Adapted from "Referral Skills," as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.). Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 759-760.
- Deciding when a referral should be made.
- Determine the problem(s).
- Determine whether or not you can help and/or are qualified to offer the help needed.
- Identify the offices or persons to whom the student may be referred.
- Referral Process: ability to refer the student to the proper person/office.
- Explain clearly and directly why you feel it proper to refer.
- Take into account the student's emotional and psychological reaction to the referral.
- Get the student to discuss his or her problem(s), consider reasons for referral, evaluate possible sources of help, and assist in the selection of the specific office or person.
- Explain fully the services which can be obtained from the office or resource person you are recommending.
- Reassure the student about the capability and qualifications of the person to meet the need expressed by the student.
- Personalize the experience by calling and making the appointment for the student. Refer the student to a specific person in the office. Give directions to the office if necessary or offer to accompany the student.
- Discuss with the student any need for sharing information with other administrators or staff and obtain the student's consent and approval.
- Help the student formulate questions to ask and approaches to take.
- Provide the person or the office who will assist the student all the information essential to helping the student.
- Follow-up: the ability to evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the referral.
- Determine if the student kept the appointment.
- Discuss with the student his or her evaluation of the help received from the person or office.
- Determine whether you selected the appropriate source of help for the student.
Reminders for Effective Advising
Adapted from "Thirty Reminders for Effective Advising," as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.). Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 737-738.
- Care about advisees as people by showing empathy, understanding, and respect.
- Establish a warm, genuine, and open relationship.
- Evidence interest, helpful intent, and involvement.
- Be a good listener.
- Establish rapport by remembering personal information about advisees.
- Be available; keep office hours and appointments.
- Provide accurate information.
- When in doubt, refer to the catalog, the Pathfinder, or the advisor's handbook. Call a faculty colleague, the Registrar, the Dean of Students, or the Assistant Dean of the College.
- Know how and when to make referrals, and be familiar with referral sources. Follow-up with the student and the office or person to whom you referred the student.
- Don't refer too hastily; on the other hand, don't attempt to handle situations for which you are not qualified.
- Have students contact referral sources in your presence.
- Keep in frequent contact with advisees; take the initiative; don't always wait for students to come to you.
- Don't make decisions for students; help them make their own decisions.
- Focus on advisees' strengths and potentials rather than limitations.
- Seek out advisees in informal settings.
- Monitor advisees' progress toward educational goals.
- Determine reasons for poor academic performance and direct advisees to appropriate support services.
- Be realistic with advisees.
- Use all available information sources.
- Clearly outline advisees' responsibilities.
- Follow up on commitments made to advisees.
- Encourage advisees to consider and develop career alternatives when appropriate.
- Keep an anecdotal record of significant conversations for future reference.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of your advising.
- Don't be critical of other faculty or staff to advisees.
- Be knowledgeable about career opportunities and job outlook for various majors.
- Encourage advisees to talk by asking open-ended questions.
- Don't betray confidential information.
- Categorize advisees' questions: are they seeking action, information, or involvement and understanding.
- Be yourself and allow advisees to be themselves.
- The advisor should have knowledge about the student's academic background and abilities. Skills in interpreting SAT and ACT reports are helpful in getting to know your advisee.
- An advisor should be familiar with the relationship of a Liberal Arts education to the world of work.
- The advisor should have knowledge about the all-college requirements (AP:A, AP:B, Natural Science requirements, distribution requirements, Thematic minors, etc.) and the rules and regulations for adding and dropping classes, changing the grading track, the point system for pre-registration, course schedule forms, the use of waiting lists for enrollment on the first day of class, the procedures for withdrawing or taking a leave of absence from the College and the procedures for changing advisors.
- The advisor should have knowledge about department majors, interdisciplinary majors, Liberal Arts and Sciences majors, first courses to take to begin work in a major, and interdisciplinary programs such as American Ethnic Studies, Asian-Pacific Studies, Comparative Literature, Environmental Sciences, International Studies, Southwest Studies, and Women's Studies.
- The advisor should have knowledge of courses available, course content, prerequisites required for courses and the sequencing of courses.
- The advisor should have knowledge about academic warning and suspension and the minimum progress required toward the degree.
- The advisor should have knowledge about instructors and their teaching styles.
Information about ON-LINE ACCESS to student transcripts and degree progress reports is on its way! (We need to develop the graphics accompanying the text.)
- The Colorado College Catalog is the fundamental resource in the advising process. It provides information on academic and campus life, admissions, financial obligations, financial aid, the College program, Academic Policies, Description of courses and the requirements for majors, Interdisciplinary Studies and courses, and listings of the faculty, administration and Board of Trustees.
- The Course Schedule is a listing of all courses offered by departments for the following year. It is essential to the registration process. The course schedule is prepared by departments during fifth block and used in the pre-registration period in block seven. The course schedule is updated in late August and used to register first year students during block two. The courses offered are listed by department and program (e.g., Southwest Studies). The schedule also includes the adjunct courses, extended format courses, courses with emphasis on writing, and General Studies and Interdisciplinary courses.
The information for each course consists of the course number and title, the block (s) the course is offered, the amount of credit for the course (reserved spaces for first year students are indicated in parenthesis), the instructor's name, any prerequisites for the course, and the divisional credit, AP: A and B, and the Natural Science (N) and the lab and field course designations (L).
- The Pathfinder is the student policy handbook. The Pathfinder includes information on Academic Policies (including leaves of absence and withdrawals), Judicial Procedures (including the Anti-Discrimination Policy and Crime Reporting), and Student Conduct Policies (including the Drug and Alcohol Policy and the Sexual Misconduct Policy).
- Scholarships and Fellowships for Post-Graduate Study. This table is updated annually and contains information about eligibility, terms of award and deadlines for the Rhodes, Watson, Bienecki, Luce, Marshall and other fellowship and scholarship opportunities for Colorado College students. Please draw your advisees' attention to this webpage and direct those who are interested to the appropriate faculty advisor. Student planning for the application process may require a year's advance work. Please assist your advisees as necessary.
End Notes (for entire Handbook)
- Dean Brenda Tooley would like to thank Victor Nelson-Cisneros and Richard Storey for their strong commitment to the on-line Advisors Handbook project. She would like to thank reviewers and contributors to the third, on-line edition -- Matthew Birnbaum, Susanne Felber, Sarah Kawano among them.
- Dean Victor Nelson-Cisneros would like to acknowledge the encouragement and commitment of David Finley to this project. He thanks Tim Fuller for his support and the contribution of the Preface in the first edition, and Richard Storey for his support and for revisions to the Preface in the second edition. He would also like to thank the faculty who reviewed an early draft of the handbook and forwarded their comments and suggestions. These include Keith Kester, Judith Laux, Thomas Cronin, Marcia Dobson, Cathy Weir, and Mario Montaño. He would also like to acknowledge the support and suggestions of administrators who helped him clarify some points as well as provide accurate information; he is in their debt. They include Mike Edmonds, Margaret Van Horn, Phillip Apodaca, Rick Roberts, and Tiggy Shields.
- Calhoon, John, Doug Casson, Tina Eyre, David Carlson and Orlando Martinez. Colorado College Campus Association Faculty Advising Review Project. Colorado Springs: CCCA, November 18, 1991.2.2
- Adapted from "Strategies of Advisement," Houston Baptist University, as found in Crockett, David S., ed. Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 765-766.
- Adapted from "Referral Skills," as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.). Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 759-760.
- Adapted from "Thirty Reminders for Effective Advising," as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.). Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 737-738.
- Adapted from "Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes Required for Developmental Advising," in O'Banion, Terry. "An Academic Advising Model," AAJC Journal, March, 1972 as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.).Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. pp. 131-132.