Academic Advisor Supports
- Academic Planning
- Extracurricular Advisement
- Health Services Referrals
- Emergency Intervention
- Housing Assistance
An academic advisor wears a lot of hats during the course of their work with students. Typically a part of a college or university's student affairs department, academic advisors assist students not just with choosing classes, but a number of other issues of concern to students such as degree and minor planning, housing assistance, and others. Here are five supports provided by an academic advisor.
The most obvious duty of the academic advisor is to guide the student through choosing classes that both serve the graduation requirements of the student's chosen major and minor – and the interests, needs, and schedule of the student. Academic advisors can counsel students on how long it will take them to earn their degree as well as suggest relevant minors dependent on the student's intended vocation. Academic planning serves not only to ensure the student can achieve their academic goals, but translate their academic achievements to professional success later on.
Every student is unique, and it falls within the purview of the academic advisor to suggest extracurricular activities that might not only help new students adjust to the rigors of college life, but might also help them with later academic goals, such as graduate school or doctoral study.
Academic advisors help students to succeed socially on campus as well as academically. Advisors may make a list of suggested clubs, sports teams, and other extracurricular activities to students. They may also participate in organizing on-campus activities of interest to the student population, and provide a calendar of these events to the students they advise.
Health Services Referrals
Upon entry to the school, most students will meet with an academic advisor to discuss not only their academic goals but personal challenges they may face, such as a disability or other illness. Academic advisors may help the student in locating appropriate medical personnel to see to their medical and psychological needs and challenges as they acclimate to student life – of particular importance to disabled students who may have chosen to study far from their home and, subsequently, any medical teams that might have been treating them prior to their studies. Academic advisors may communicate with on-campus medical professionals about the individual needs of each student, and can readily provide students with information and resources that can best meet those needs.
In some cases, academic advisors are mandated reporters – they must report instances in which minor students are being abused or put in danger. Regardless, academic advisors can assist students who are facing abuse or neglect in their current living circumstances to reach and utilize resources that will help them escape these situations. Advisors may refer the student to on-campus wellness resources, such as college counselors or therapists, or provide information on hotlines, safe houses, and shelters that students can reach out to if they are facing abuse at home.
Whether in person, over the phone, or via email, academic advisors can direct students to housing resources for while they are in school, whether that be dormitories on campus, student-specific housing complexes, or student-friendly apartment listings. Academic advisors work in tandem with student affairs to organize dorm rosters and help students choose the best housing option for them. If you're going away to college, your very first conversation with your advisor should include what housing options are available to you, and they can assist you in finding accommodation that fits your needs.
Academic advisors do much more than just schedule students for classes. They are an important part of the campus team that sees to the well-being and success of all the students they serve – academically, professionally, physically, socially, and mentally.