The Art of Advising

The resources on this page are designed to help you refine and finesse the art of advising. You will find resources on advising theory, recent articles and research in the field, and anecdotal stories of success to inspire and support you.

What is academic advising and why is it important?

A truly formative student-advisor relationship requires trust and honesty. Advisors must formulate responses informed by theory to build such relationships. But advising is more than theory and carefully crafted responses. It involves knowing when to challenge students and how to do so in a supportive manner. Instead, advisors must carefully assess student concerns and development, craft responses that address both, and take care to uphold institutional integrity. Balancing these elements requires finesse and creativity. No scenario is exactly like another— there is no “recipe for success.” Advising is an art.

Advising Theory

Skilled advisors weave together multiple advising theories and approaches to create a student-centered approach. Different theories may be appropriate with different students and in different settings.

Developmental Advising focuses on all aspects of a student’s life within the framework of his/her individual developmental stage.

Proactive (formally Intrusive) Advising uses programming that initiates advising contact with students that might not otherwise seek advising.

In some cases, prescriptive advising can also be appropriate:

Prescriptive Advising dictates that the advisor serves as the authority figure and source of information. The advisor provides advice or instructions that the student follows.

 Links to NACADA and CAS standards

 NACADA Core Values of academic advising

 CAS standards

Recent articles/research in the field

NACADA Clearinghouse

Anecdotal stories of success

Email the Executive Committee if you have a story of success you would like featured here

Why advising is important

Academic advisors and other student services professionals are responsible for supporting student development in higher education. Advisors are in a unique situation to provide consistent support, as “academic advising is the only structured activity on campus in which all students have the opportunity for on-going, one-to-one interaction with a concerned representative of the institution” (Habley, 1994, p. 10). It provides an opportunity to help students develop a relationship with an individual that can help promote their success, refer to appropriate resources, and even challenge them when necessary for the duration of their academic careers (and sometimes beyond).

Habley, W.R. (1994). Key Concepts in Academic Advising. In Summer Institute on Academic Advising Session Guide (p.10).  Available from the National Academic Advising Association,Kansas State University,Manhattan,KS.