Advising Right Now: Building the Advising Relationship
It is very common for advising groups to disconnect after the fall term, when some freshmen often need increased support. If you have not been able to establish a personal connection to your advisees up to this point, it is important that you find a way to develop relationships with them early in the spring term. If you have gotten to know your advisees, you should continue to foster your relationships.
Even if your advisees have not responded to your emails, it is not too late to develop the advising relationship. Here are some timely tips:
Be Pro-active and Direct
- Grab their attention by using a creative subject line.
- Write personalized emails to each advisee with specific details that relate to them. Ask questions about their plans for break and IAP, their intended major and their current activities or ones they are planning to be involved in.
- Make care packages for your advisees with personalized notes and deliver them to each of their dorms.
If your advisees understand your advising role and are already comfortable with you, here are some ways to stay connected in the spring:
Be Approachable and Accessible
- Send your advisees your spring schedule so that they know when you are available. Let them know when you are free from classes or other activities.
- Organize a social activity with your advising group early in the spring term, when freshmen are available and not overwhelmed with classes.
Ask the Right Questions
- Ask open-ended questions that require thoughtful responses. For example, "What classes are you thinking about taking in the spring?"; 'What study habits worked for you in the fall term?"; "What resources have been helpful to you?"
- Listen to the responses and allow these to guide your conversation.
- Take the dialogue beyond class selection to focus more broadly on your advisee’s academic, career, and personal goals.
Participate in Advising Meetings
- Work with your advisor to be part of the any meetings.
- Find additional opportunities to meet with each of advisees informally during the semester.
- Contribute to the conversation at meetings. If possible, plan with your advisor in advance on how you can have a meaningful part by sharing your student perspective.