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Academic advising resources

A page within Academic Advising Center & Career Services


Academic advising can be one of the ways that students are able to have a positive academic experience at UWL.  Additionally, providing students with advising that is consistent and based on best practices can strengthen the University's retention efforts.

Please review some common best practices for academic advising.  


Contact with Advisees

Maintain regular contact with advisees:

  • Communicate office hours to advisees at the beginning of each semester.
  • Email pertinent information & important dates as needed.
  • Encourage regular meetings with all advisees.
  • Encourage meetings on a more frequents basis with students struggling academically.

Make the effort to establish a positive relationship with advisees:

  • Communicate to advisees the role & expectations of both advisor and advisee.
  • Show a personal interest in events occurring in their life.
  • Recognize the needs of students with diverse & non-traditional backgrounds (students of color, international students, veterans, returning adults, etc.).

Maintain a degree of professionalism:

  • Be available during posted office hours.
  • Keep all scheduled appointments.  Communicate with advisee if the appointment does need to be rescheduled.
  • Maintain confidentiality (review FERPA for exceptions).
  • Refrain from expressing negative statements about departments, programs, & colleagues.
  • Keep up to date on current advising strategies (NACADA).
Information/Resources for Advisees

Provide accurate & timely information about programs and policies:

  • Review Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog for UWL academic policies & degree requirements.
  • Use Dates & Deadlines from Records & Registration to communicate important academic deadlines to advisees.
  • Notify advisees as changes to degree requirements and academic policies occur.  
  • Consult Records & Registration and/or Deans Office for policy clarification when needed.

Utilize campus resources:

  • Become knowledgeable about the offices that support Student Success at UWL.
  • Make referrals when advisee is experiencing an issue outside your expertise.
  • Try to refer students to a person, when possible.

Support out-of-class learning experiences:

  • Encourage advisees to consider involvement in student organizations, undergraduate research, internships, study abroad, etc.
  • Inform students of relevant of guest speakers or events. 
Class Scheduling

Scheduling suggestions for advisees:

  • Encourage students to create a schedule that they can successfully balance. This should take into account: hours for studying, student involvement, employment, athletics, etc.
  • Encourage students to create a schedule that provides some academic rigor.
  • Be prepared to explain the purpose and value of general education requirements. 
  • Recognize that most 1st year students may not be ready for 300/400 level coursework.
  • Unless required by their major, use caution in advising students to enroll in more than two  4/5 credit courses in their 1st semester.
  • Discourage advisee from enrolling in 18 credits in their 1st semester.   
  • If advisee feels that they are falling behind in credits for the academic year, see if a winter or summer course might be an option for them. 
Managing Appointments

Before the appointment:

  • Email advisee to communicate the need for an appointment and the topics that will be discussed.
  • Familiarize yourself advising tools such as: WINGS (advisement report, grades, holds, milestones, etc), Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog, Eagle Alert.
  • Review any advising notes that you have of previous meetings with advisee.

During the appointment:

  • Take notes.
  • Address the reason for the appointment (educational goals, registration, course withdrawal, exploring major, academic concerns, etc.)
  • Inquire about advisee's academic performance for current semester.
  • Inquire about advisee's non-academic life 
  • Acknowledge any issues/concerns that advisee indicates they are experiencing. Make referrals when appropriate
  • Discuss academic probation/Eagle Alert if applicable to student. Address factors that might be affecting their academic success
  • At the end of the appointment, ask if all their questions/concerns have been addressed.

After the appointment:

  • Post advising notes in the note system that you are using. 
  • Follow up on any actions that you make to the students during the meeting.
  • Send reminder to students of commitments that they made during the appointment.
Advising Guide for Students on Academic Probation

Review the Policy

It is important for all advisors and students to review the UWL Catalog for information about retention standards, probation, and suspension. As stated in the catalog, students who are on probation will have an academic probation registration restriction (negative service indicator) placed on their student record.  Students must meet with the academic advisor of their primary major before registering for new semester in order to remove this restriction. 

Completing a "Plan for Success"

Prior to meeting with a probationary student, advisors can consider having their advisee complete a Plan for Success form.  While optional, the Plan for Success form may be used as a starting point for students to reflect on their academic experience and to create goals going forward. When using the form, students should complete the introductory portion of the form, including name, ID#, GPA and information about credits earned, as well as indicate their academic and personal concerns. The advisor and student can complete the rest of the Plan for Success together. In the meeting, the advisor and student should begin a dialogue about the academic and personal issues contributing to the student's inability to be successful in classes, specifically discussing the student's identified concerns and available resources for managing them. As reflected in the Plan for Success form, students are asked to identify strategies they plan to implement to achieve a higher level of academic success. Often, the factors leading to probation involve multiple academic and personal concerns that need to be addressed, and sometimes this takes more than one semester to get under control. 

Class Schedule Success

As part of the Plan for Success, the advisor and student should create a class schedule that reduces or eliminates the factors that are detrimental to the student's academic success, improves GPA, and advances academic standing. The goal is to create a class schedule the student finds engaging, but not overwhelming. 

  • Credit Load: Advisors should help students determine a reasonable credit load. Students with few, low-impact commitments outside of class might benefit from carrying 14-16 credits; but, a student who works 20 or more hours per week, for example, might be advised to enroll in 14 or fewer credits. However, some studies suggest that too few hours devoted to coursework may allow attention to be diverted to non-academic pursuits. Students and advisors should be familiar with the university schedule regarding advisingadd/drop deadlines, and withdrawal processes.
  • Repeating Courses: Repeating courses is the quickest way for students to raise their cumulative GPA. Students may consider repeating a course that is critical to their academic goals. However, if a course has already been repeated unsuccessfully, advisors and students should discuss whether to repeat a course again. 
  • Financial Aid: If financial aid or finances are a primary concern, plan ahead. Students should refer to the Financial Aid Office for answers to any questions about money management, financial aid policies, scholarships, or on-campus student employment. 

Refer to Academic and Campus Resources

It is important to utilize any and all campus resources that can help students improve their academic success. Some of these resources include tutoring at Murphy Learning Center, Counseling & Testing Center, the ACCESS Center, and the Student Success website.

Healthcare Career-Related Questions

If you have an advisee or a student in a class that is "pre-health" (pre-med, pre-PA, pre-PT, etc.), please direct them to the Pre-Health Student Resource Center for support, information, and resources. 


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