Academic Advising: 5 Tips For An Ever Changing World

Academic Advising within a higher education institution has a very special place in the life of the adult student. Many graduate level students are non-traditional, and are going back to school during extremely busy times in their lives and/or not so busy times due to the economy.

From getting married, working full time, and raising children, and/or lack of employment, it is of utmost importance that the academic advisor has the ability to understand and relate to the adult student.

Here are my favorite top 5 tips for academic advising in an ever changing and fast paced world:

1. Share Your History and Expertise (if possible): Should you be given the opportunity to provide academic advising within an experienced field of your own, take it and run with it. Academic advisors who have the ‘been there done that’ background have a tremendous amount to offer a student on a professional level from two lenses: experience and knowledge. The personalized experienced advisor can truly make a difference in the lives of their students. Advisors can provide referrals, mentor, share invaluable tips, and will be able to create an ongoing bond due to the commonalities shared. I do believe there are amazing academic advisors who do not share the same career background. However, having that personal knowledge and experience to share with students can provide for life changing outcomes.

2. Be Pro-Active: Reach out to your students before a problem arises. Check early for fires and put them out immediately. It is imperative to assure that students are on the right track and do not run into any major issues. There are various rules that students must follow in regard to transfer credit, course requirements, time limits for degrees, petitions, and more. Most of this information is found in the university catalog; unfortunately, it is a book students usually don’t read. Familiarize yourself with these rules, check on student status, and make pro-active decisions as necessary.

3. Know Your Students: Get to know your students and understand whom they are and what they need. An undergraduate student will have explicitly different needs than a graduate student, as the 2 life stages are polar opposites. If you advise graduate students, be aware that daily life challenges take priority, and your role is to make the higher education process comprehensible, less stressful, and more meaningful.

4. Empathize: Since the age of technology, it seems quite difficult to get hold of a live person when calling a corporation or institution. Be real and be human! Empathize and show compassion. There is nothing unprofessional about showing you care in regard to what your assigned students are going through. An advisor who takes time to understand and listen (rather than hear) will truly create a comfort zone for students. Should you come to a point in which you don’t care; it is time to move on, as you will be cheating your students and yourself.

5. Go The Extra Mile: An advisor, should time be allotted, should go the extra mile if possible. If you see a job posted, have a good referral, or simply know something that will help your students, share it by all means (should your university allow)! A short email or phone call can turn into a job opportunity, a new networking contact or more. Keep giving… it benefits everyone.

An advisor is a provider, mentor and so much more. Life long relationships can be formed during these years. Enjoy the time and privilege to meet so many amazing people.

Academic Advising Economists Create Limited Sets and Quantify Irrelevance to Decision Makers

Not long ago, someone asked me what I’d do to turn around the US economy. Well my answer was quite simple; we need a red magic market committee. “What the hell are you talking about,” he said, “I asked you what you would do to fix the economy if you were in charge.” You see, I run a think tank which happens to operate online, and we talk a lot about economics. However, since he was an academic who advises political leaders on economic affairs, he’d never heard of such a thing.

Indeed, I explained to him that the red magic marker committee would be a group of business leaders both big and small that would go through the rules and regulations concerning business, carefully drawing through entire lines of regulations that made no sense, were too costly, and were just more bureaucratic red tape and/or duplication. He then understood what I was talking about, but he also told me that by having rules and regulations did provide more jobs for professionals; lawyers, consultants, tax advisers, etc. I told him that was nonsense and certainly no excuse for it, but he explained to me that he could show me using mathematics why he was correct.

As a former franchisor founder, having started my first business when I was 12 years old, I thought to myself; what planet is he living on? I don’t need mathematics to explain to me his concept, but he surely needs to get a life, get a job (in the private sector), and consider a stint running his own business for 10 years before he tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m just a small business person. Some things really look great on paper. Many business plans in fact.

Now that I am semiretired and running this think tank, I come across all sorts of great business plans, with great assumptions, beautiful spreadsheet and awesome proformas with a decent bit of math behind each little box. Of course the problem with writing these business plans is that most of the entrepreneurs take a limited set of facts, and expand upon those facts as if there were no other criteria. The world doesn’t work like that, and that’s why we should be very careful when academics start advising politicians on economic decision-making.

This particular academic advisor had never run a business in his life, and he couldn’t for the life of him figure out why we need to reduce the rules and regulations. It’s almost impossible to argue with someone like that, even using their own math, unless we can take them all the way back to the beginning of their assumptions and show them that they clearly don’t know what they’re talking about, and they’ve quantified irrelevance to the n’th degree. Their reality is not even in this dimension, so their math and data is neither scientific, nor worthy of contention. Please consider all this and think on it.

Use Editing Services Improve Your Relationship With Your Academic Adviser

1. It is generally impossible to proofread or edit your own written work. You need a second set of eyes to find your typos, spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes. Notice a typo in the title of this article?

2. It can be very frustrating for an academic adviser to give feedback on the content of your research paper, thesis, or dissertation if he or she is spending a lot of time correcting the clarity, grammar, and spelling of your document. You should give your adviser well-written chapters and sections of your paper, thesis, or dissertation so he or she can focus on your work rather than spend time trying to figure out what you are trying to say.

3. A professional editor can make sure your paper is understandable and free of errors. You can ask the professional editor you hire to focus on what is important to you.

4. Your academic adviser will think more highly of your written work if it is, at a minimum, well-written. He or she does not want to spend hours deciphering the meaning of a paper and correcting minor mistakes. Using an editing service will make your work easier to read.

5. Don’t forget to thank your academic adviser for the time he or she spends helping you! You will need him or her to inform you of new jobs opening in your field, write recommendation letters, and work with you to submit journal articles from your thesis or dissertation. This makes your relationship with your academic adviser crucial for your career. People with poor relationships with their academic adviser are less likely to receive a good recommendation and to obtain their desired academic job.