Be willing to schedule appointments with students who cannot attend office hours
Read and respond to e-mail from students and advisees
Arrange the surroundings so that they are comfortable, quiet and otherwise conducive to serious conversation.
Listen to what the student is conveying or trying to convey – pay close attention to body language; sometimes students may say one thing but their body language is conveying something else.
If you're not sure about what's on the student's mind, ask until you get a clearer picture.
For example:A student might tell you that he/she needs to drop one of his/her classes. You could give the instructions for how to do this, but it might be helpful to know why; is he/she having difficulty in this one class or is there something else at play? After probing further, it is not uncommon to find that the student was ill for a couple of weeks, a family member passed away, etc. He/she might be caught up on most classes but is worried about his/her progress in one course. Besides wanting to connect the student with the Undergraduate Student Services Office to discuss the possibility of having excused absences sent to his/her faculty, you might want to talk with the student about options for the course – perhaps approaching the instructor about an "incomplete" might be a better fit.
Trying Your Best to Help
Do your best to respond to student inquiries – often answers to their questions can be found in the University catalog or in various online resources (Registrar's Office homepage, CHS Undergraduate Student Services homepage, department homepage, etc.).
If you can't find the answer or aren't sure about the answer, call the Undergraduate Student Services office at 831-8073. We are available and offer telephone hot-line consultation for College faculty with advising questions. It is especially helpful if you call while the student is in your office because you can get the questions answered immediately and there is no need to follow-up later.
Helping Students Become Self-Directed
Part of our role as advisors is to help students learn how to find answers to some of their questions for themselves; this means showing them where they can look and providing guidance when they have additional questions or concerns.
For example:students may ask you whether a certain course will satisfy a University Breadth Requirement – and do so because they don’t know where to look to find the answer. Directing them to the section of the online catalog where they can find this (and other) information may be all they need. While content is helpful (we need to be able to answer students’ questions), we want students to learn how to seek out the content themselves.