Guiding an Advising Session

The Office of Academic Services & Advising has developed this resource as a guideline for conducting an advising session at any time of the year. We hope that this outline serves as a helpful reminder of student needs and expectations, as well as the information available to advisors. At its core, advising is a learning process, and faculty advisors are encouraged to adopt the pedagogy that they feel best supports their relationship with each student.


In advance of the meeting, review the student’s degree audit (myAudit) and any other materials or notes you may have on them, including the First-Year Advisee survey for incoming  students. This will help in guiding the meeting by providing self-disclosed facts regarding the student’s academic history, course interest, concerns, goals, etc.  

Initial conversations with First-Year Advisees should be both informative and exploratory.  Having a go-to list of broad, open ended, positive questions can be helpful.  Be ready to engage the student in a conversation about their hopes and goals for the year and the things they would like to get involved in outside the classroom.

If the meeting is relevant to course selection, be sure to check to see if there are any mid-semester assessments noted.  

Review Your Advisees

Log into myHill and use the section called "Student Information for Advisors" under the "Faculty Services" tab in to view and contact your assigned advisees, check their grades, see their schedules and monitor their degree progress through myAudit.  A comprehensive list of the Mid-Semester Assessments for all advisees is emailed directly to each advisor. 

About myAudit

Running myAudit will display the student's degree progress along both the Cornerstone and his or her specific major requirements.  The audit will also show which classes are yet to be taken in order to complete a student's chosen program of study.

  • Know how to utilize myAudit and its various tools, such as the “What if” function for students interested in switching majors, doing a double major, or a adding minor.
  • To access the audit, log into myHill and go to the “faculty services” tab.

Cornerstone Requirements

Be knowledgeable about the Cornerstone Program and General Education requirements for all students. 

Academic Calendar and Advising Dates

  •  Keep advisees informed of upcoming important advising dates such as Add/Drop, Withdrawal, and Registration deadlines.
  • View the academic calendar for specific details.

Academic Policies and Procedures

  • Maintain a working knowledge of the College's policy and procedures, and know where to access them.  All policy information is available in the Hill Book online.


It is important to give your advisee your full concentration during your meeting. Avoid distractions with phone calls and outside interference. Find out what the student has come to see you about, whether it is for advisement of courses or another issue that concerns them. Assist the student in identifying why they are there and avoid dictating how the conversation goes. Rather be a guide for the conversation. Before a discussion on the logistics of the issue, ask how their overall college experience is going.

  • Build rapport with your advisees by initiating conversation with open-ended questions.
  • Help advisees identify their values and goals. 
  • Help the student assess if their skills and interests meet the rigor of his or her intended major - this will help you anticipate and discuss challenges. 


During the meeting, giving the student as many options to explore their desired major or outside interests is helpful for them to look into areas they may not have thought of or viewed as possible. Being knowledgeable of course offerings within your department, as well as introductory courses in other departments, is a helpful way to support the student explore. When appropriate, consider referring the student to the Office of Academic Services & Advising or the Department Chairperson for an area they have an interest in exploring. We can help students who lack direction or certainty to do more extended, in-depth exploration.

Programs of Study

Be knowledgeable of the degree offerings and requirements across the College.

Academic Resources

  • Do not hesitate to ask others if you do not know the answer to something. You can always get back to the student(s) after finding the answer.  We always encourage faculty to contact Academic Services & Advising if they have any questions about the most appropriate resources for a student.


Planning Worksheets and Additional Resources


When concluding the meeting, you want to make sure you are keeping the student moving towards their goal. Whether it be short-term – such as course registration – or more long-term goals – such as studying abroad or internships – we want to make sure we are supporting the student to stay on track. Remember, the student has come to you for guidance and the more informed you are on the curriculum and community the better equipped you are to assist them throughout their time at the College.

  • Assist advisees with scheduling courses on a short-term and long-term basis.
  • Act as a mentor for the student to help him or her become more independent and self-directed. 
  • Maintain regularly-scheduled office hours and make sure to communicate these hours to your advisees. 

Related Pages