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Academic Advising Basics

Get the Academic Advising Basics:

  • What is Academic Advising?
  • The Shared Responsibility of Academic Advising
  • Walk-in Advising versus Appointment Advising
  • How to Prepare for Advising Sessions
  • Other Advising Resources
  • Where Can I Find a Counselor/Advisor?


What is Academic Advising?

Academic advising is a developmental process which assists students in the clarification of their life/career goals and in the development of educational plans for the realization of these goals.  It is a decision-making process by which students realize their maximum educational potential through communication and information exchanges with an advisor; it is ongoing, multifaceted, and the responsibility of both students and advisor.  The advisor serves as a facilitator of communication, a coordinator of learning experiences through course and career planning and academic progress review, and an agent of referral to other campuses agencies as necessary. 

Source:  David Crocket as cited in King, M. C. (2000). Designing effective training for  academic advisors. In V. N. Gordon & W. R. Habley (Eds.), Academic advising:   A comprehensive handbook (pp. 289-297). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

The Shared Responsibility of Academic Advising

The process of academic advising is a collaboration of both the advisor and the student.  Therefore, both the advisor and the student have responsibilities in order to achieve successful and effective academic advising.

Advisor Responsibilities: 

  • Be familiar with academic/major program requirements.
  • Make recommendations for registration and Educational Plan.
  • Monitor student academic progress.
  • Help students explore career and educational options.
  • Refer students to their college and campus resources.
  • Look for potential in students.
  • Motivate students to take responsibility for their own academic, career, personal goals.
  • Exhibit trust and confidence in students.
  • Provide students with current and correct information.
  • Preserve students’ rights and confidentiality.

Advisee/Student Responsibilities: 

  • Prepare for and keep advising appointments.
  • Develop, follow, and revisit educational plans.
  • Learn and use college and campus resources. 
  • Read and refer to the college catalog. 
  • Be familiar with academic/major program requirements.
  • Keep a personal record of and review his or her academic progress.
  • Attend and participate in class.
  • Get involved in campus and community events.
  • Take responsibility for and own his or her decisions.
  • Observe academic deadlines such as Registration, Drop/Add, Withdrawal, etc.
  • Be knowledgeable of and understand Montgomery College’s academic policies, etc.

 The student is ultimately responsible for all aspects of his or her education at Montgomery College, including course selection and awareness of academic status.  Students must make decisions based on the information, alternatives, limitations, and possible consequences explored with a Counselor/Advisor. 

Adapted from:  Kramer, G. L. (2000). Advising students at different educational levels. In V. N. Gordon & W. R. Habley (Eds.), Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook (pp. 84-104). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Meeting with a Counselor/Advisor: Walk-in Advising versus Appointment Advising

There are two primary ways a student can meet face-to-face with a Counselor/Advisor in the Counseling and Advising Departments at Montgomery College, through walk-in or scheduling an appointment. 

 Walk-in Advising

  • First come, first serve basis daily during Counseling & Advising Department business hours
  • Meet with any Counselor/Advisor on duty
  • Shorter sessions, typically lasting 5-30 minutes
  • Better for quick questions and concerns (e.g., graduation audit, change of major, dropping or adding a course, etc.)

Appointment Advising

  • Based on the availability of an individual Counselor/Advisor
  • Meet with a specific/your Counselor/Advisor
  • Longer sessions, lasting from 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Preferred for more complex questions and concerns (e.g., personal or medical issues affecting academic performance, career counseling, educational planning, etc.)

In the event that you don’t get your question completely answered during walk-in advising, you should get your Counselors/Advisors business card to set up a follow-up appointment at a later date. 

How to Prepare for Advising Sessions

As mentioned above, the responsibility of academic advising is shared by both the Counselor/Advisor and the student.  Therefore, as a student who is in charge of his or her education, you need to be prepared for each advising session as best as possible to maximize your interaction with a Counselor/Advisor.  There are a variety of reasons why you may need to meet with a Counselor/Advisor, but below you will find a general list of things to help you prepare:

  • Do some research first.  Before meeting with a Counselor/Advisor on walk-in or for an appointment do some research on the question or concern you may have. 
  • Prepare ahead of time.  Write down the questions you may have for a Counselor/Advisor prior to being advised so you won’t forget them and ensure that you get all of them answered.  In addition, be prepared to discuss your current and/or past academic performance/history, if necessary, because this information may be helpful during advisement.
  • Bring your Personal Advising File.  Start early with developing your Personal Advising File.  This file will include things such as a copies of applications, transcripts, transfer evaluations, registration forms, Advising Worksheets, Degree Audit,  Academic Appeals, Curriculum Change forms, your catalog, your Educational Plan, letters from the College, and any other academic related documents that are important. 
  • Take notes.  During your advising session you should take notes and keep copies of all documents you receive so that you are reminded about what was discussed during your session (e.g., referral, next steps, etc.).  Remember, whatever notes you take and documents you receive put them in your Personal Advising File.
  • Be on time!  If you have an appointment with a specific Counselor/Advisor make sure you are on time.  You might even want to show up early if possible.  Also know which building you are going to and the room, not to mention the Counselor/Advisor you are meeting with especially if it is an appointment. 

Other Advising Resources

Advising FAQs More details about academic advising
Academic Planning Milestones for academic planning
Online Advising Email Online Advisors
    Takoma Park/Silver Spring 

Where can I find a counselor/advisor?

  • Germantown Campus - Room 172 SA Building, 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown, MD 20876, (240) 567-7770
  • Rockville Campus - Room 215 CB Building, 51 Mannakee St. , Rockville, Md 20850, (240) 567- 5088
  • Takoma Park/Silver Spring - Student Services Center, 7600 Takoma Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20912, (240) 567-1480

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