A Student-Centered Approach to Advising

Redeploying Academic Advisors to Create Accountability and Scale Personalized Intervention

Topics: Advising, Academic Affairs, Student Learning Outcomes, Assessment, Degree Progress, Student Retention and Success

Executive Summary

Pressure on campus leaders to demonstrate improvement in student success continues to mount, but the question of accountability on campus remains unclear. As central retention offices and shared responsibility campaigns fall short of expectations, many campus leaders are turning to academic advising as the unit or activity best-positioned to inflect student outcomes. Shifting the emphasis of advising from basic transactions toward activities that significantly impact retention and timely completion, however, remains a nontrivial pursuit.

This study provides a blueprint for a student-centered advising model through two critical imperatives.

Structuring advising to enable consistency and accountability

Handshake Advisor training and organizational models should enable students to remain with one dedicated contact throughout their academic career. Advisors with consistent caseloads are better able to leverage both data and time with individual students to assist those in need with the right advice.

Targeting intervention strategies based on student risk

HandshakeProgressive institutions incorporate a wide variety of demographic, financial, and behavioral information into their analyses of student attrition to uncover the variables most closely correlated with student success and identify the best support strategy for each student.

Top Lessons from the Study