The following examination of current literature regarding advising methods, specific content of advising sessions, and student satisfaction rates on various college campuses is crucial to understanding the significance of studying advising standards at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Beneficial Factors of Advising: The Core of its Purpose Advising can change based on the type of student. There are several different studies, methods, and theories that have proved that advising can be beneficial for all types of students.
With a strong correlation between retention and good advising, it can be interesting to see what the student sees as beneficial for advising. The interaction between the student and advisor can have a definite impact on student retention at a particular institution. Many researchers have concluded that anxiety is a major issue of why students have undecided majors (Cuseo 2005, Habley1994, Lewallen 1994, and Burton 1998). The anxiety is created because of the student’s inability to make a decision (Cuseo 2005).
It was also found that students who struggle with this type of anxiety generally pick a degree just to feel relieved; thus their chosen major is not always the best fit. An advisor is able to assist the student with choosing a degree that is better suited for them, leading to an overall better college experience. Within the literature, it was evident that a student’s college experience is improved through academic advising. McKinney et al. (2016) analyze the perceptions of college students on academic advising.
Students were asked about advising experience, improvements that could be made in advising and ways advising has contributed to academic success. All students surveyed reported benefitting from academic advising. The results indicated that students were able to participate in degree-planning activities and have individual support. The process of advising is for advisors to help the student develop and reach educational goals, while creating confidence in the student.
Engaging Undergraduate Students through Academic Advising” explains that a college student’s academic advisor is an important relationship that contributes largely to their academic success. An electronic survey was used to collect data to understand student advising participation, advisor/student communication strategies, and perceptions regarding their advisor. On today’s college campuses, academic advising is not only for scheduling classes. Advisors help the student with future career planning and assist with deeper academic cultivation.
Filson et al. (2013) mentions Chickering’s theory of student development which advisors may follow to aid in student maturation and career preparation. This theory contains 7 vectors: achieving competence, managing emotions, moving toward interdependence, interpersonal relationships, establishing sense of self, and values and beliefs. Burton (1998) suggests that advisors use the O’Banion Model of Academic Advising. This type of advising will help the student explore life and vocational goals, program and course choice, and scheduling.
These methods have been proven to help student find the proper paths, especially those who are undecided or need more guidance. Whether advisors follow a specific theoretical model or are simply available for individual student support, it is evident that the greater presence of advising is beneficial to the majority of college students according to the research. The indecisiveness and anxiety which accompanies many young people pursuing higher education can be alleviated in part with the assistance of knowledgeable and committed faculty (Burton 1998:13-20).
Content: Advising as a Communication Device It is relevant to understand the faculty advisor can have a tremendous impact on a student’s college experience in addition to being a phenomenal referral source. In fact, referral to academic sources was a key aspect of the advisor’s duty according to Allen et al. (2008). Social and cognitive development were also noted as positive outcomes of effective advising (Allen et al 2008:609). The literature available on forms of communication related to advising mentions a variety of student and faculty expectations.
Both students and faculty agreed that faculty performed course selection assistance the best; they also agreed that personal counseling was the most limited aspect of advising ( Allen et al 2008:609). In other words, many faculty fail to perform this element of advising. This is also relevant to Baker et al. 2010 where in not all advisors are meant to be mentors, nor does every student wish to form a personal mentor relationship with their assigned advisor.
In regards to communication and interpersonal networking, it is substantial to note that faculty regarded academic referral as being much more significant than students thought. The most important attribute of an advisor was providing accurate information on degree requirements, according to both faculty and students. Navigating the university’s policies or “how things work” was ranked as the second most important attribute to both students and faculty. Both students and faculty regarded all aspects of advising outlined in this study as important, according to the ranking system.
These attributes included: integration of the student’s academic, career, and life goals with each other and with other aspects of the curriculum and co-curriculum; referral to campus resources for academic and non-academic problems; provision of information about degree requirements and how the university works with regard to policies and procedures; individuation, or consideration of students’ individual characteristics; and shared responsibility, or encouraging students to assume responsibility for their education by helping them develop planning, problem solving, and decision-making skills (Smith & Allen 2006).
Baker et al. (2010) mentions the importance of social capital which a student of limited means can gain from the bond formed with an advisor. It discusses how the college population today is much different. First-generation college students who are also minorities may benefit especially from a faculty advisor who shares their race. Even with emotional and social support, these students who are the first in their family to attend college will especially benefit from an academic advisor. The authors also mention the hike in tuition as a factor for the importance of fulfilling advising experiences for students.
They expect more out of advisors as they are paying higher costs to attend the university. An advisor’s help during undergraduate study is essential for the student making good choices. The knowledge of the advisor outlays different opportunities to the student. Technology has helped advising in recent years (Baker et al. 2010:4) as the advisor can send a student a progress report before meeting; thus using their time together to exclusively discuss the implications of the student’s progress.
The communication that takes place between an advisor who implements a mentor role with a student can additionally aid the student . The advisor can not only discuss the student’s academic goals or interests, but “might also inquire about what led the student to be interested in a particular academic area, suggest additional topics or areas that seem similar, or be more willing to listen and help a student process her concerns about academic decisions”(Baker et al 2010:4).
Williamson et al. (2014) terms the advisor as a “developer” when the professor is working alongside the student in his or her academic progress. A student’s future career is of high importance and the “developer” advisor shares knowledge and professional information that can help build a student’s success beyond their undergrad career.
The significance of this article is the emphasis on shared advisor-student learning and the information that an advisor exchanges with their prodigy is essential for personal and professional goals. Research shows that establishing a strong institutional connection with students improves retention, persistence, and success. Sustained through an ongoing dialogue between instruction and student development professionals, classroom activities and wrap-around support services can be uniquely focused on the individual student.
The college found that advising holds students accountable while providing needed assistance along their educational pathway. During a trial run of a mandatory advising program, sessions created were used to focus on the student’s future career plans. The faculty informed students on certifications offered during their first years of college which could also provide the student with opportunities for higher paid employment while still in school.
This opportunity would enhance a student’s career options and thus should be considered an essential form of networking between faculty and student. These advising sessions covered many categories of early college preparedness including financial aid and registration for the following term. Thus, “college data on students in the student success courses showed improvement in student retention, persistence, and successful course completion” (Williamson et al. 2014:21).