Advising Right Now: Building the Advising Relationship
Your advisees are likely unsure about how to make a personal connection with you. Freshmen value your upperclass student knowledge, advice and experience, but may be hesitant to impose on your time. Here are some tips on building the advising relationship.
Be Approachable and Accessible
- Act friendly and welcoming when you explain how you complement the work of the advisor and are available to offer advice.
- Tell your advisees about yourself such as where you are from, what your major is and what activities you are involved in. Tell them why you became an associate advisor.
- Send your advisees your schedule so that they know when you are available. Let them know when you are free from classes or other activities.
- Let them know the best ways to reach you. Provide each advisee with your contact information. Give out your cell number, e-mail, and dorm/ FSILG.
Ask the Right Questions
- Learn to ask open-ended questions that require thoughtful responses. For example, 'What was your high school like?', not 'Did you like your high school?'
- 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 meetings s/he has set up with your advisees, and find additional opportunities to meet with each of advisees informally.
- Contribute to the conversation at meetings. If possible, plan with your advisor in advance on how you can have a meaningful part in these meetings.
- Let your advisees know that you are available to meet them around critical times on the academic calendar, e.g., Registration Day, Add and Drop Dates.
Get to Know Your Advisees
One of the best ways to get to know someone is by finding out about them. Here are some conversation topics that will help you get to know your advisee:
- Find out why they chose MIT. What other schools did s/he apply to?
- Ask what major they are considering and why.
- Find out what extracurriculars they are interested in joining.
- Ask which dorm they are living in. Are they interested in FSILGs?