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Effective Advising

Advising should go beyond simply giving information or signing a form.

When an advisee approaches you with an issue, it is important that you avoid prescribing solutions without addressing underlying issues.

How do you accomplish this?

By asking open-ended questions and listening to their responses, you are helping students think about their situation and find appropriate solutions. Telling students what to do will discourage self-advocacy and decision-making. Though you might know the answers to the challenges they are experiencing, a developmental approach will equip students students with the tools and skills that they need for success.  

Here are some sample questions you might ask:

  • What do you think is going on?
  • What can you improve?
  • How much work do you need to make up?
  • How do you study? 
  • What have your TA or professor suggested?
  • What has worked for you before? 

Some tips to remember:

  • Ask the question, but don’t answer it.
  • Help your advisee see the big picture.
  • Give some commendation, not just advice.
  • Follow up with your advisee.

See Working with First-Years for more tips on how to talk to your advisees.