For students to become successful learners, they have to possess not only high levels of self-regulation and metacognitive skills but also a range of study skills (Lindblom‐Ylänne, 2004). Haarala-Muhonen, Ruohoniemi, and Lindblom-Ylänne (2011) interviewed students who were progressing well and students who were falling behind the university’s curriculum. The results revealed that students who were progressing well in general described their learning processes similar to self-regulated learners, such as motivation, time management, use of various study strategies and metacognitive skills.
In contrast, students who were falling behind were less uniformed in their answers. The responses communicated a lack of volition and difficulties with time management. Although students who were falling behind appeared to be aware of their learning difficulties and the importance of using study strategies, they do not know how to use it in their specific learning contexts. Therefore, these students may need academic advising to get the support they need for academic success. Brooman and Darwent (2014) discussed potential models for an overall transition period designed for first year students. Instead of a 2-3 week introduction period, there should be a ‘longer’ period with several opportunities for student engagement in success factor development.
Academic advising programs
The academic advising program is the activity where the student counselors or academic advisors work together with the students to help them take control of their own learning and build confidence in their learning abilities (White, 2015). In a study by Young-Jones, Burt, Dixon, and Hawthorne (2013), students’ expectations of their academic advisors and whether the academic advisors met those expectations were found to have an effect on students’ study skills and self-efficacy. The study suggests that availability of academic advisors, meetings with the academic advisors, and support provided by academic advisors contribute to students’ academic success. By interacting with students and understanding students’ difficulties with learning, academic advisors can provide encouragement to enhance students’ confidence and suggest effective study skills to help students successfully work towards their learning goals. Therefore, it is important for educational institutes to develop academic advising programs that carry out specialized intervention programs to support students.
Levels to academic advising
There is no universal approach to academic advising since all situations differ and all students respond differently (Drake, Jordan, & Miller, 2013). McLaughlin (1999) outlined a three-level approach to study counseling or academic advising.
The first level emphasizes on student-teacher relationships. Teachers should be equipped with basic counseling skills to listen and react to student’s emotional needs.
The second level of counselling is at the university level. A system should be in place for early interventions, continuity of care and coordinating with external agencies.
The third level of counseling involves the teacher, specialist, and student(s) to work together in greater depth.
Characteristics of academic advising
Lowenstein (2005) put forth four assumptions of academic advising that are shared between a learner-centered view and developmental model:
- Advising is not prescriptive.
- Advising is interactive.
- Students play an active role in learning.
- Student’s learning is shaped by the advising experience.
Based on these four assumptions, Lowenstein (2005) suggested that excellent advisors can do the same as what excellent teachers do for one course. An excellent advisor can:
- Help students see the big picture of what they are learning and see how the different subjects complement each other.
- Provide questions to help students identify different approaches to learning different subjects. For example, how is studying Math different from English?
- Assist students in organizing their learning experiences to enhance learning effectiveness.
- Help students to connect knowledge on different subjects and create links for the different subjects.
- Create awareness of the development of transferable skills and how skills learned in one subject can also be used in another subject.
- Remind students to actively use effective study skills to enhance learning.
- • Help students to put together their education structure and see how one course builds on another.
In conclusion, academic advising recognized in educational institutes for its contribution to students’ study success. It is important to provide the much needed support to students who are less successful so that all students can have equal opportunities to become successful learners. Different countries may use different terms to refer to the similar scope of counseling duties that are being carried out. Therefore, more research is needed to understand the role of counseling at a global level and to develop counseling approaches that can benefit students.
S. Brooman and S. Darwent. Measuring the beginning: a quantitative study of the transition to higher education. Studies of higher education Volume 39, Issue 9, 2014.
Drake, J. K., Jordan, P., & Miller, M. A. (Eds.). (2013). Academic advising approaches: Strategies that teach students to make the most of college. San Franscisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
Haarala-Muhonen, A., Ruohoniemi, M., & Lindblom-Ylänne, S. (2011). Factors affecting the study pace of first-year law students: In search of study counselling tools. Studies in Higher Education, 36(8), 911-922.
Lindblom‐Ylänne, S. (2004). Raising students' awareness of their approaches to study. Innovations in Education and teaching international, 41(4), 405-421.
Lowenstein, M. (2005). If advising is teaching, what do advisors teach?. NACADA journal, 25(2), 65-73.
McLaughlin, C. (1999). Counselling in schools: looking back and looking forward. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 27(1), 13-22.
White, E. R. (2015). Academic Advising in Higher Education: A Place at the Core. The Journal of General Education, 64(4), 263-277.
Young-Jones, A. D., Burt, T. D., Dixon, S., & Hawthorne, M. J. (2013). Academic advising: does it really impact student success?. Quality Assurance in Education, 21(1), 7-19.