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Characteristics of a Good Advisor


  • Is personally and professionally interested in being a good advisor.
  • Listens constructively, attempting to hear all aspects of students’ expressed problems.
  • Evidences interest, helpful intent, and involvement with students during advising sessions.
  • Is available to students; provides enough time to adequately meet the advising needs of students by keeping stated office hours and scheduled appointments.
  • Knows departmental and University policies and practices in sufficient detail to provide students with accurate, usable information; when in doubt, refers to the University Catalog, Faculty Advisor’s Handbook, Student Handbook, or other available sources for clarification.
  • Knows how and when to make referrals and is familiar with resources available to students on the campus; when referrals are needed, has the student contact the referral source in their presence.
  • Does not make decisions for students, but helps students make their own decisions.
  • Attempts to understand students’ concerns from a student point of view, and focuses on advisees’ strengths and potential rather than limitations.
  • Monitors advisees’ progress toward achieving their declared educational goals by viewing long-range plans as well as immediate problem-solving as an essential part of effective advising.
  • Tries to determine the reasons for poor academic performance and directs advisees to appropriate support services.
  • Clearly outlines advisees’ responsibilities in achieving their stated educational and professional goals.
  • Follows up on commitments made to advisees.
  • Keeps an anecdotal record of significant conversations with advisees for future reference.
  • Is knowledgeable about career opportunities and job outlooks for majors and minors within their own department, and is realistic with advisees in discussing these possibilities.
  • Never betrays confidential information about an advisee, and is familiar with the legal issues involved in the academic advising process.
  • Continually tries to improve both the style and substance of the advising role by evaluating the effectiveness of their own advising practices and willingly participates in advisor-training programs offered by the University for this purpose.
  • Tries to establish a warm, genuine, and open relationship with advisees by being themselves and allowing advisees to be themselves.