Advisors: Guiding Decision Making Since 2004
Making academic decisions can be challenging and have long-lasting implications. Deciding what classes to take, when to take those classes, what degree program to pursue, or if you should add that minor or certificate are common decisions that all students face. Even though many of the decisions in the education arena are common, the way students go about making them can be as unique as each student. One way to tackle those decisions is to use the 3-I Process (Gordon, 2006) and the guidance of an academic advising team member.
During the first phase, inquiry, students start to ask questions and identify their academic needs. For some students, this may be a clear starting point, as many have already gone through this phase and asked themselves critical questions regarding their academic goals. Some students may not be familiar with knowing what to ask or may get stuck when trying to ask themselves those critical questions. At this point, having a conversation with an advising team member may be helpful. Advisors can ask questions and open up a dialogue for students to start or continue the inquiry process regarding their specific academic needs.
The inform phase begins when students have identified their needs and can begin looking for information and resources. The university offers numerous resources to students, including the Transfer Credit Center, Online Library, Student Handbook, Student Advising and Resource Center, and university newsletters. Many students start with some of these online resources to gather information. However, with all the information out there, it can sometimes seem overwhelming to know where to begin or how to sift through everything that is available. Working with an advising team member during this phase can be helpful, as they can guide students to information for their specific academic needs or refer students to other university staff members who have information and resources that can aid them during the inform phase.
The final phase, integrate, is when everything comes together. Students have asked critical questions based on their academic needs, gathered information to answer those questions, and can now begin to piece everything together to answer their questions in the pursuit of fulfilling an academic need, working towards an academic goal, or making an academic decision. This part of the process can be quick or lengthy, depending on each student and what questions he or she is trying to answer. Working with an advising team member, students will be supported while analyzing all of the information they’ve gathered in relation to their questions. Advisors can assist students in dissecting the bits and pieces, explaining the details of a policy, or applying information to a student’s specific situation.
Although advisors cannot make decisions for students, they can be great advocates for students, helping them understand their options and make those tough academic choices.
Gordon, V.N. (2006). Career advising: An academic advisor’s guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Contributed by Anna Sommer, Academic Advising Project Coordinator
Return to Top