First of all, thank you for becoming a student organization advisor! Now that you’re here, there are a couple things that you need to know. To begin, the Office of Student Life is always here to help and support you as the advisor and not just the students. Also, never hesitate to email (firstname.lastname@example.org), call (x5533), or just stop on by our office at (SAC 201). We are always here to help!
Below are some suggestions, ideas, and tips that you can use as an advisor. The Office of Student Life conducts training sessions each semester, so please make sure to attend a session to stay up-to-date on all policies and procedures. Furthermore, make sure you are receiving all Student Life Update emails from our office, this way you’ll have all the necessary times, dates, and locations of our upcoming training sessions.
- Engage members in problem solving, decision making, and developing interpersonal communication skills.
- Become an ally or partner and establish a positive and meaningful relationship with club members.
- Provide a structure for club goal setting.
- Be there to answer questions, be there as a sounding board, be there to listen.
- Have clearly defined goals and high expectations.
- Provide a fun and safe environment for club members.
- Display a genuine interest in the activities of the club.
- Celebrate the groups successes and recognize their accomplishment. Be their cheerleader when they might get down.
ADVISORS SHOULD NOT
- Manage the student organization. You are an advisor and are there to help the group make decisions, not decide for them.
- Have an Agenda for the club's activities. The club should set their agenda with your support.
- Engage in group Politics over group ownership or activities. Be neutral at all times.
- Sign Forms in September and not speak to the group until the next September...
- Run the groups meetings. You should barely even be involved in meetings.
TOP TIPS FOR ADVISORS
- Should be keen and enthusiastic - personally and professionally interested in being an advisor.
- Should listen actively/constructively, attempting to hear all aspects of students' expressed problems.
- Most Importantly, set aside enough regularly scheduled time to adequately meet the advising needs of students. Make sure the students know you will MAKE TIME when it is needed.
- Be well-versed with university policy and practice in sufficient detail to provide students with accurate, usable information. Refer students to other sources of information and assistance when you are not sure on policies or practices.
- Try best to understand student concerns from a student point of view.
- View long-range planning as well as immediate problem-solving as an essential part of effective advising and group development.
- Share the advising skills (or woes) with colleagues who also are actively involved with advising student groups. It can help give you ideas and it supports other advisors as well.
- Make conscious attempts to improve both the style and substance of the advising role. For example, participate in any advisor-training programs periodically, if available.
- Don't get embroiled in personal politics with the student group. Stay impartial and help the group make good decisions, not put people in place who make the decisions you agree with.
- Adhere to deadlines and university policies. If the club knows you break policies, you can't expect them to follow other university policies.