What is Academic Advising?

Academic advising is a process in which trained, professional advisors help students identify their own interests, characteristics, values, and motivations as they enter, move through, and exit Texas A&M University degree programs (NACADA 2006).  Academic advisors serve as resources to students in exploring and selecting majors and courses, developing degree plans, and meeting degree requirements.  Academic advisors also connect students with academic and personal support programs, co-curricular opportunities, and career options.

Research shows that effective academic advising can increase student persistence and success (Nutt 2010).  Alexander Astin’s 1977 and 1993 studies show that student persistence is affected by the level and quality of their interaction with peers, faculty, and staff (Nutt 2010). Consequently, good academic advising can affect student retention.  “Rendon (1995) indicates in her study that two critical factors in student’s decisions to remain enrolled until the attainment of their goals are their successfully making the transition to college added by initial and extended orientation and advisement programs and making positive connections with college personnel during their first term of enrollment.”(Nutt 2010)

Academic advising has three components:  curriculum (what advising deals with), pedagogy (how advising does what it does), and student learning outcomes (the result of academic advising) (NACADA 2006).  At Texas A&M University, all three of these components are addressed in the development and assessment of advising programs.
Astin, A.W. (1977). What matters most in college: Four critical years. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Astin, A.W. (1993). What matters most in college: Four critical years revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Nutt, C.L. (2010). Stand Up and Become the Key Advocate for Student Success and Academic Advising on Campus and Around the Globe!. Academic Advising Today 33 (2).
Rendon, L. (1995, May). Facilitating retention and transfer for the first generation students in community colleges. Paper presented at the New Mexico Institute, Rural Community College Initiative, Espanolo, NM.

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