Advisors are often the unsung heroes of a student’s college journey. They sit, in the shadows, while professors and mentors receive the credit for a student’s success. But the truth is, students would be lost with the guiding light advisors provide. They not only support students throughout their educational journey, they also help ensure students are successful well beyond graduation.
For Global Advising Week, we talked to Maureen Fray, director of university advising, to learn more about what she and her staff do and get a list of reasons why you, as a student, need an advisor—and need to talk to them.
What does an advisor actually do?
Academic advisors guide and support students as they progress through their academic careers. We support students with enrolling in courses, of course, but our role is so much more. Advisors strive to support students by teaching them the skills needed to navigate the university experience and empower them to take ownership of their educational journey. This includes exploring career and academic goals, supporting students with problem-solving and developing action plans, making referrals to resources across campus and within the community and helping identify internships and experiential opportunities.
In honor of Global Advising Week, I would like to thank NAU advisors who dedicate their professional time to helping students reach their unique potential. As complex problem solvers and resourceful student advocates, advisors help students transform their lives one connection at a time.
How often and for how long do students meet with an advisor?
NAU has 87 professional advisors on staff. Each one serves 300-400 enrolled students as part of their caseload. NAU students, on average, meet with an advisor 1.6 times a semester. This academic year, we’ve hosted over 200,000 appointments and drop-in meetings, and that doesn’t even include the thousands of emails and phone calls with students. We have so many ways for students to connect with advising, including individual appointments, drop-in hours, office hours, emails/phone and enrollment events, just to name a few.
NAU is a leader in the advising field in that we have a team of first-year advisors who support our freshmen in their transition to college. Students are typically with a first-year advisor for one academic year, then transition to a member of the team who serves upper-division students in the college of their major. NAU academic advisors are assigned to each undergraduate student throughout the length of their study.
What are the top five reasons why students need an advisor?
- They help you navigate your choices and opportunities to make the most of your academic career at NAU.
- They allow you to discuss your short-term and long-term goals so you can build an academic plan that works best for you.
- They give advice about managing unexpected disruptions along your road to graduation—they’re here to help support you as life happens along the way.
- They help you explore choices and opportunities as you discover your interests.
- They serve as a sounding board and help you find support at NAU, connect you with faculty and discuss your career next steps/path.