Getting To Know Your Advisee

Academic Advising Interview


Greet students by name, be relaxed and warm. Open with a question e.g. “How are things going?” or “How can I help?”

Phrasing Questions

Conversational flow will be cut off if questions are asked so that a “yes” or “no” reply is required. A good question might be, “What have you thought about taking next semester?” or “What are some things that have made you think about a business as a career?”

Out-Talking the Student

Good advising is effective listening. Listening is more than the absence of talking. Identify the fine shades of feelings behind the words

Accepting the Student’s Attitudes and Feelings

A student may fear that the advisor won’t approve of what he/she says. Advisors must convey their acceptance of these feelings and attitudes in a non-judgmental way. Cardinal principle: If the student thinks it is a problem, the advisor does too.


Do not fire questions at the student like a machine gun.

Silence in the Interview

Most people are embarrassed if no conversation is going on. Remember, the student may be groping for words or ideas.

Reflecting the Student’s Feelings

Try to understand what the student is saying. For example, it is better to say “ You feel that professor is unfair to you.” Rather than “Everyone has trouble getting along with professors sometimes.”

Admitting Your Ignorance

If a student asks a question regarding facts and you do not have the facts, admit it. Go to your resources for the information immediately or call the student back.

Setting Limits on the Interview

It is better if the advisor and the student realize from the beginning that the interview lasts for a fixed length of time.

Ending the Interview.

Once limits have been set, it is best to end the interview at the agreed time. A comfortable phrase might be, “Do you think we have done all we can for today?” or “Lets make another appointment so that we can go into this further.”

(Crockett, 2001)

Follow-up Visit Questions for New Students

  • How are your parents doing without you?
  • What has been your most surprising experience here so far?
  • What do you like best and least about being here?
  • Are you doing as well academically as you thought you would in your first semester?
  • How is the school different from what you thought it would be?
  • What are you spending more time on than you thought you would?
  • What are some of the feelings you've experienced about being in college?
  • If you were starting a journal about new things you are learning about yourself, what are some things you would list?
  • What advice would you give a brand-new student, based on what you've learned so far?

(Noel/Levitz, 1997)

Positive Approaches to Advising

  • Get to know your advisees’ names and use them.
  • Post your office hours and keep advising appointments.
  • Prior to an advising appointment, review your notes from previous advising appointment.
  • During advising meetings, show students you are listening carefully by taking notes, asking clarifying questions and maintaining eye contact.
    Anticipate student needs and be prepared to address them.
  • Remember that students often don’t know what they don’t know.
  • Refer students to the appropriate campus resources and follow up on the recommendations and referrals.
  • Prior to the student leaving your office, ask them “Is there anything else that I could do to assist you? Have I answered all of your questions.?”