5 Functions of an Academic Advisor

Updated November 30, 2022 · 2 Min Read

Explore this resource by Best Counseling Degrees to learn all about academic advisor functions.

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Academic Advisor Functions

  • Provide Career Guidance
  • Inform Students of Policies
  • Monitor Student Performance
  • Conduct Orientation Sessions
  • Inform Students of Resources

An academic advisor can be a great asset for students while pursuing educational goals. They are professional staff members employed by colleges and universities to help students in a variety of ways as they discover their career paths.

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1. Provide Career Guidance

Providing career guidance is one of the most important duties that advisors must fulfill. Students come to colleges and universities to obtain the education needed to enter specific careers. However, many students do not know which career that they would like to pursue or they are thinking of changing their major. Advisors can help students figure out which careers can be suitable for them by having conversations and using assessment tools that help students determine what job factors are important to them as well as analyze their personal characteristics to find a good match.

2. Inform Students of Policies

Colleges and universities have a plethora of rules, regulations, and policies. Academic advisors serve as someone on campus that can inform and explain the school's policies in a clear and understandable way. For example, most colleges and universities allow for students to withdraw from a certain amount of classes without the grade being shown on their transcripts. However, if a student is unaware of all of their options when not performing well in a class, then that could make the difference between a student receiving a failing grade on their transcript or not.

3. Monitor Student Performance

Advisors are assigned caseloads where they must keep case files and monitor each student's academic progress. This can bring a great deal of work as a typical caseload for a full-time advisor, according to the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), is about 296 hundred students. These days, this process is made easier by utilizing technology. Advisors make students aware of the services that are available for academic assistance and remediation. They also must make referrals to other professionals on campus when students have academic, attendance, or other personal problems that warrant assistance.

4. Conduct Orientation Sessions

Most colleges and universities require their new students to participate in an orientation session. These sessions are to acclimate students to their new educational home. Advisors can conduct sessions in its entirety or can participate in a portion of the sessions. During the sessions, advisors inform students of the academic services that are offered, introduce department and academic advising staff members, review curriculum requirements, and explain class registration procedures. Advisors also often provide a timeline for when student academic advising for the academic year should occur as well as explain student and advisor expectations.

5. Inform Students of Resources

Academic advisors serve as a connection between students and other resources. They inform students of other opportunities such as internship or campus employment information. They provide contact information and guide students to school resources regarding residential life, student affairs, financial aid, or mental health counseling. Advisors have many connections all over the campus that students can view them as a resource to use when trying to figure out solutions to a variety of problems. Advisors have specific functions, but their overall mission is help in ways that will allow for overall student success.

Navigating a college or university can be a daunting task. There are many rules to follow and requirements that students must fulfill. An academic advisor can help students in meeting their requirements as well as provide guidance in many different areas.

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