Advising Basics

Adviser Role and Responsibilities

  • Maintain an advising file for each student.
  • Designate and post hours available for advising.
  • Inform students of the nature of the adviser/student relationship.
  • Proactively contact advisees on a regular basis.
  • Help students define and develop realistic educational plans.
  • Assist students in planning a program consistent with their abilities and interests.
  • Monitor progress toward educational goals.
  • Interpret and provide rationale for instructional policies, procedures, and requirements.
  • Approve all designated educational transactions (e.g., schedule, drops and adds, withdrawals, change of major, waivers, and graduation requirements).
  • Refer students to other sources when educational, health, attitudinal, attendance, financial, employment, or other personal problems require intervention by other professionals.
  • Discuss linkages and relationships between educational program and career plans. Refer students to Office of Career Services to assist students in identifying non-credit internships, externships, and career opportunities.

Constructing Learning Objectives for Academic Advising
Motivational Interviewing in Advising: Working with Students to Change

Advisee Role and Responsibilities

  • Prepare adequately for the advising session.
  • Know the adviser’s office hours. Contact and make an appointment with the adviser when required or when in need of assistance. If the student finds it impossible to keep the appointment, the student will notify the adviser.
  • Become knowledgeable about institutional policies, procedures, and requirements.
  • Follow through on actions identified during each session, especially referrals.
  • Clarify personal values, abilities, interests, and goals.
  • Accept final responsibility for all decisions.

The Art of Referrals: When, How, and To Whom?

Good advisers recognize the need for making referrals; however, many are uncertain as to when, how, and to do it. This section is an attempt to provide you with the basic procedures for referring to other resources on or off campus.

When to Consider a Change in Faculty Adviser Assignment

  • You feel that unresolved personality differences between you and the student significantly interrupt the advising process.
  • After a period of time, you do not believe your communication with the student is effective.

When to Refer to Other Resources

  • The problem is personal and you know the student on a personal basis (i.e. relative of a friend, neighbor, etc.).
  • The student is reluctant to discuss the problem with you.
  • The student presents problems or requests for information beyond your level of competence.

How to Refer

  • Refer the student to a specific person whenever possible rather than to an office or agency in general. Familiarity with the personnel and the function of each office will help you to determine the right person to select for each situation. The list of appropriate individuals on this campus follows this section.
  • If appropriate and possible, offer to assist the student in making an appointment with a specific person at the office. This may give important help to an already overly anxious student.
  • Unless appropriate, do not transmit information about the student to the referral source in the presence of the student. This may create the feeling that everyone on campus knows the particular problem. Always secure the student’s permission before relating personal information to other campus officials.
  • When the student returns from the referral, inquiring as to whether or not he/she kept his appointment is usually enough for the student to volunteer whatever information is necessary to continue your working relationship as an adviser.


Lafayette College reserves the right in its sole judgment to amend any policy or program described herein without prior notice to persons who might thereby be affected. At its sole option, the College may suspend or eliminate courses, academic departments, or degree programs; change curricular offerings, graduation requirements, and regulations on standing of students; alter its class schedule and academic calendar; or make changes of any nature whenever in its judgment such changes are desirable for any reason. The provisions of this publication are not to be regarded as an irrevocable contract between the College and the student. Payment of tuition or attendance at any classes shall constitute acceptance by the student of the College's rights as set forth in this paragraph.