What is the Role of the Academic Advisor?

Most successful professionals did not accomplish their career goals completely on their own, and an academic advisor was usually a part of the team that they counted on to guide them during their university years. Nearly all colleges and universities make the services of academic advisors available to their students, and freshmen are often required to meet regularly with these knowledgeable education specialists. Most of these advisors are assigned to students by their academic major, and advisors are likely well versed in specific departments’ policies and programs. Here are some of the specific job functions performed by academic advisers.

Strategic Academic Planning

While some students attend universities for the collegiate life experience, most people are trying to prepare as much as possible for a career upon graduation. Academic advisors can help students to do this by getting an honest assessment of a person’s academic and interpersonal strengths, weaknesses and interests. They can then use their knowledge of career resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics to recommend career options to students in areas that are expected to have high growth or to be in high demand by industry. Students can then choose a career and set academic goals to gain success in their desired field. If the chosen careers fall within the students’ original majors, academic advisors can proceed to help them plan out the courses that they need to take within each school term to gain their degree in the most efficient manner. Academic advisors also help students who choose careers that fall outside of their originally chosen academic majors by assisting them in changing their majors and introducing them to their associated academic advisors.

Smooth Transition to University

Education policies and practices are changing in an effort to standardize the secondary education of students throughout the nation. While these common core standards are newly implemented, students still arrive at universities at different skill levels. It is the responsibility of the academic advisor to pay particular attention to high-risk students. They make sure that these students are aware of the academic services available to them through their schools to help them to overcome any of their identified academic shortcomings.

Monitor Academic Performance

Course grades earned by students are available to academic advisors so that they can monitor students’ performance. Students who do exceptionally well in their chosen academic majors may hear from their academic advisors about merit-based scholarships and grants for which they qualify. Alternately, students who require improvement may hear about their schools’ tutoring services or remedial courses to help correct any deficiencies in certain subjects. This job function often serves as a motivating factor for students because they are held accountable for their progress during periodic counseling sessions with their advisors. Also, academic advisors can use their university contacts across all disciplines to help arrange unique experiential learning opportunities to better reinforce certain academic concepts.

Conclusion

The job functions of academic advisors are similar to the ones filled by high school guidance counselors. Some students are well prepared for life at a college or university, and their academic advisors just pick up where their high school guidance counselors left off. Other students need the help of an academic advisor to create strategic academic and career roadmaps for their future success.

Related: Tips for Building a Solid Mentoring Relationship with a Professor