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Ideas for Departments

Departments use a variety of methods and tools to give students a positive, effective advising experience. Each program has unique attributes that may influence how a department decides to advise - for example, students in some majors commonly study abroad, while in others many students may be preparing for professional licensure or graduate school.  Creating a department advising model with well defined steps and the use of Advising Tools, can also help departments manage large numbers of students.  

A commonly used Advising Tool is the CAS Advising and Registration Quickstart.  This tool is updated each year by the Advising Team, so it contains the most up to date links and information that can help students and peer advisors find information quickly.  Some departments require students to complete the Quickstart, often with the help of a peer advisor, before meeting with a faculty advisor.  This ensures that the student has thoughtfully prepared for their advisor meeting.

Another Advising Tool is the BU Academic Planning sheet.  Incoming students will receive a copy of this Google Sheets plan.  Requiring students to come to advising appointments with the planning sheet prepared for at least the current and next semester, also helps optimize advising conversations. 

Types of Advising Models

  • In a cohort model, a designated advisor or group of advisors takes all first-year students in the major and follows these students through graduation. This model allows advisors to focus on the particular concerns of first-year students one year, sophomores the next, etc.

  • In a group model, advisors meet with all advisees at once to communicate information that is common to all students. This allows individual meetings with students to be quicker and/or more personalized to the student’s individual questions, and allows the advisor to cover some material just once instead of repeating it in many student meetings.

  • In a peer advising model, junior and senior students help prepare first-year and sophomore students for advising appointments. This model allows students to share their experiences with each other and creates space for faculty/staff advisors to have more meaningful conversations with advisees. It can also reduce the amount of time faculty/staff advisors spend with each advisee. Here are some peer advisor training notes that the Advising Center will keep updated as Bethel’s advising resources change. They provide a good first step for your Peer Advisor Training.

  • All models include one-on-one appointments between students and faculty/staff advisors. Some departments find that one-on-one advising best meets their students’ needs, without adding other advising-related programs or models.

We hope this page gave you ideas for developing a great departmental advising model!