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.