Advising for First-Year Students
Faculty advisors to first-year college students have unique opportunities to work with
students who are new to college life. Perhaps the most important part of your role as an advisor is providing an atmosphere of trust, which becomes the foundation for a variety of
meaningful conversations for the advisor-advisee relationship in the future.
Virtually all experienced faculty advisors stress the importance of finding effective
ways to interact individually with their advisees. Teaching and advising
are interrelated and often enhance one another. The combined role of the First-Year Seminar professor/advisor, which serves to develop closer, stronger relationships between students and faculty during the first year of college, is a key element to a student’s successful transition to college life.
- By the end of June First-Year Seminar assignments will have been made and you will receive a list of your students’ names and Dickinson email addresses.
- At this point a general welcome to your seminar and a short introduction of yourself is appropriate, if you wish. You will not begin advising your seminar until they arrive on campus because:
- A team of Summer Advisors consisting of faculty and class deans will be providing direct phone and/or email advising to students during the week of July 8 - 12. Students will then select courses the following week from July 15 - 22. We expect that all entering students will have a conversation and receive their Alternate PIN from a member of the summer advising group working during the Advising/Course Selection period in July.
- The advising conversations that Summer Advisors have with entering new students focus on continuing/starting a foreign language, requesting an appropriate lab-science course, and exploring a potential major or area of academic interest. Please note the above
three categories of courses are encouraged for entering students in an effort to create a balanced schedule, and to enable them to complete the foreign language and lab-science requirements by the end of their sophomore year.
- Schedule Adjustment Period – August 8 – August 25: Students who request additional assistance will communicate with Summer Advisors during Schedule Adjustment Period. The new First-Year Students will arrive on campus on Wednesday, August 21 for orientation. Your first meeting with them will be on Thursday morning, August 22 for the first meeting of your FYS.
- Please note: No paper advising files will be sent to advisors. Advisors have access to academic information for each of their advisees through CLIQ (accessed directly through your Gateway portal).
When you first meet your FY Seminar students – Thursday, August 22nd, 9 a.m.
- Based on faculty input, your first meeting with your FYS students will actually be a regular class session on Thursday morning August 22nd at 9 a.m. This will be an opportunity to hand out your FYS syllabus and conduct your first class session. You can expect your students to complete an assignment for the second class, scheduled for Saturday, August 24th.
Your first advising session with your FYS students – Friday, August 23rd, 9 a.m.
- Please start with a group advising session to discuss immediate questions/ issues related to schedule adjustment for fall and, in particular, your relationship as advisor-advisee, and more generally, to engage your students in a conversation about embarking on an undergraduate liberal arts education.
- We strongly encourage you to use the Advising Guidelins to open the conversation about the advisor-advisee relationship with your advisees.
- Advisors have found it useful to ask their advisees to fill out “Starting your college career at Dickinson College” and bring it with them to their individual advising appointment with you, whether later that day or during the first week of classes.
- We also ask that you invite your advisees to set up brief individual sessions with you. You may want to start these individual meetings on that Friday or set up blocks of time over the first week of classes to make yourself available for these meetings. It's important that each of you students has the opportunity to connect with you one-on-one by the end of the first week of classes. This would be a time to review the courses your advisee is enrolled in this semester. Check to make sure all courses on their schedule are appropriate for first-year students (Registrar’s website).
- Consider using Moodle for general announcements and convening basic information regarding deadlines to your students.
- Consider scheduling group advising at key points in the semester:
- To check in with students (late September) about their experiences in the other classes
and at Dickinson generally.
- Before course request for Spring Semester
- Begin to stress the importance and value of using the Program Evaluation (degree audit)
function with your advisees. This evaluation provides important information regarding how the student’s AP credits and current courses meet individual degree requirements. By using this evaluation tool early in their college years, students can begin to be responsible for monitoring their own academic progress.
During the first week of classes – August 26th – August 30th
- Check by Wednesday to make sure all of your advisees have four courses for the term and that they understand that this is the only week for Add/Drop for Fall semester.
- Consider offering a group advising session for students who want to talk about Add/Drop options.
During the third week of classes-- Early Alerts for first-year students
- During the third week of classes (September 9 - 13) Shalom Staub will contact all faculty to
identify any FY students about whom there are concerns. The three general areas for evaluation are: a) graded work; b) participation in class; and c) class attendance. At the same time, this is an important time to take stock of these issues within your own FY seminar. Shalom will forward the names of any students who are in your seminar that were identified by other faculty.
- Your follow-up with advisees during these early weeks is important and can often help students address academic and/or social adjustment issues and concerns.
October is advising month
- Schedule individual appointments with your advisees to review how things are going, and to
discuss course selection for Spring 2014. Ask students to select at least six Spring 2014 courses to discuss with you.
- Ask your advisees to bring their most recent Program Evaluation (degree audits) with them each semester prior to Course Request Period.
- At the end of your advising session, give the Alternate PIN, which you can find in the CLIQ program listing your advisees. (Please remember -- sending Alternate PINs by email without an advising conversation undermines good advising.)
- If any of your advisees receive “U” grades, ask them to make an appointment with you to discuss their strategies for improving their performance. They should also meet with the faculty member/s who assigned the “U” grade(s).
- It may be necessary for a student to consider using a course withdrawal to salvage his/her semester. (Remember, students have only 2 discretionary course withdrawals to use and must petition the Academic Standards Committee for any additional ones.
- Let your advisees know that you will be meeting with them in the spring to discuss their
academic goals, and course selections for Fall 2014.
- You will be invited to send the Advising Office the names of two or three students in your seminar who are particularly articulate (orally and/or written), academically talented, and/or think beyond the obvious. These identified first-year students will be invited during the spring term to consider preparing and planning applications for post-graduate scholarships and fellowships that may be appropriate for them.
December Seminar Wrap-up
- Many advisors find it useful to take a few minutes to write more extensive notes for their files about each of their first-year advisees. Most likely you will be asked to write a recommendation for your advisees who will be applying for Global Education/Study Abroad and details about each will come in handy next year.
- Welcome your advisees back to campus for the spring term and invite them to make an appointment with you to discuss their evolving academic interests and goals. (Words of wisdom from an experienced advisor. With one semester of college under their belt, they have been home to discuss their college experiences with their family and friends during the holiday break. They often return with more realistic expectations and different interests for their second semester of college. Although they may still consider making course registration changes for their second semester of college, February is a prime time for thinking very broadly with them about their future – academically and personally.)
- The February and March advising appointments should be more than course planning for Fall 2014 and giving out alternate PIN numbers to your advisees. As an advisor, this is one of your best opportunities to talk about academic goals, potential majors, summer jobs and internships in career fields that interest them, their plans for going abroad, and what is generally important to your advisees.
- Study abroad: Dickinson’s Center for Global Study and Engagement has asked advisors of undeclared students to engage our advisees in substantive conversations about study abroad. We want to encourage students to think of study abroad beyond “the destination.” We want students to start thinking, early in their Dickinson career about such questions as:
- How does study abroad fit into their overall academic interests?
Language study/competency often drives study abroad choices, but increasingly, students studying a given language have multiple options for study abroad settings. Engage students
in conversation about their academic interests beyond the language study to help them explore options beyond the most popular destinations.
- What investigations, questions, and goals might they formulate in advance of study abroad to help enable them to get the maximum benefit from the experience and help enable them to recognize the value of special opportunities that may present themselves while they are abroad?
- In what ways might explorations of their academic interests allow them to engage with and learn from different segments of the host society?
- Remember the continuing importance of reviewing each advisee’s Program Evaluation in
your advising conversations and prior to giving the Alternate PIN.
- Course Request Period for Fall 2014 courses will be March 24 – 26, 2013.
- You will be notified when the system opens up for Schedule Adjustment Period. At this point your advisees will be able to see what courses they are registered for during Fall 2014. They should be encouraged to check and add available courses to fill out their schedule of four classes. Remind them that any changes or additions at this time will be “live” and immediate.