Best Practices

A Safety Sciences professor talks to a student

Academic advising is a partnership between students and faculty/staff. These best practices will help you get the most out of the experience.


Be prepared.

  • Take a look at the course catalog.
  • Begin to learn your curricular requirements.
  • Attend your meeting with an idea of some classes you would like to take.
  • Track your progress in Degree Works.
  • Make a plan for your curricular, internship, experiential learning, and/or career goals to discuss with your advisor.

Take ownership of your education.

  • Learn about curricular requirements, university policies, and professional development so that you become more independent and self-sufficient as you progress towards graduation.
  • Ask questions. Talk to your advisor or check out the Hawks Q&A Center.
  • If you are having difficulty communicating with your advisor, talk to the department chair of your major.

Respect your advisor's time.

  • Respond to your advisor's communications.
  • Arrive on time to all meetings. If you cannot make a meeting, send a message as soon as possible canceling the meeting.

A professor listens to a studentFaculty/Staff

  • Be available and prepared.
  • Create an easy system for students to schedule appointments.
  • Dedicate advising hours during peak advising times, like the two weeks preceding registration.
  • Offer a variety of advising appointment times to accommodate diverse schedules.
  • Send reminders for students to schedule and attend advising meetings.
  • Ask students to complete an academic plan and bring it with them to meetings (e.g., classes they need/want to take, certification tests they need to take, program application dates, etc.). Help students develop an academic plan if they do not know how to make one.
  • Review student files to familiarize yourself with their needs before the meeting.
  • Consider the needs of online students regarding advising.

Communicate and maintain accurate records.

  • Set a minimum of one in-depth appointment per semester to discuss courses selections, progress towards graduation, and career/graduate school goals.
  • Increase contact with students with high-risk scores in CRM Advise, low grade performance, excessive absences, etc.
  • Regularly update advising notes in CRM Advise file after meetings. Post curricular notes for students to access in Degree Works.
  • Review advisor alerts in CRM Advise.

Know university policies, procedures, and how to find answers.

  • Empower students to make informed decisions and plan for their future.
  • Provide accurate and timely information about degree and career-related requirements.
  • Advise from an integrated perspective of general education major(s), minor(s), as well as experiential learning.
  • Understand campus policies and procedures (e.g., FERPA, Title IX, ADA, Financial Aid, Student Billing Office, etc.).
  • Use the Hawks Q&A Center for questions you cannot answer yourself.
  • Make appropriate referrals when necessary.

Advise the whole student.

  • Get to know your advisee.
  • Raise alerts regarding the student's needs (via CRM Advise) if necessary.
  • Follow up with struggling students to see if they need additional assistance.
  • Please be mindful that many aspects of a student's lived experience will bear on their academic success and advising needs. Considerations may include their academic background, access to technology, and home life. Their lived experiences—sometimes very negative ones resulting from characteristics such as age, race, gender identity, national origin, or language limitations (ESL or colloquialisms)—might have placed barriers to success for students. Emotional and mental health issues or disabilities, hidden or overt, may also present barriers to success. The university has resources to support students who experience these barriers. In order for you to determine the best ways we can solve problems and provide those supports, it is key that you see the whole person. That depends on listening, empathizing, and respecting your advisee.

Recommendations based on DePauw University Best Practices.