The Importance of Academic Advising

woman holding her hand upCollege is a time of major transition for most students. Having just left the rigid organization of high school, the relaxed environment of homeschooling, or re-entering the classroom after an absence, many college students are in a state of great change and in need of good advice.

Without academic guidance, students could find themselves in college longer than necessary because they aren’t taking courses that will satisfy a degree requirement. It’s important to have a clear academic path that works towards completing a college degree or higher learning certificate. While having some college education is admirable, employers will most likely lean toward the candidates who have completed programs and earned degrees.

In 2019, discussion about the worth, merits and value of college degrees has been heating up across the United States. On one hand, we have the Ivy League university admissions scandal featuring Hollywood stars such as Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, whose idea of seeking the counsel of academic advisors for their daughters was allegedly through bribery. On the other hand, we have reality television star Kim Kardashian planning on taking the California Bar examination so that she can practice law without a college degree.

A survey conducted by online financial services firm GoBankingRates indicated that more than 40 percent of American college graduates believe that their degrees are not worth the heavy debt burdens they find themselves in today. It is interesting to note, however, that 88 percent of those surveyed do not regret their decision, and 20 percent of them actually believe that they could have done better in school had they studied harder. As for regrets in their choice of college majors, a quarter of all survey subjects felt this way, and this suggests that they may not have taken full advantage of academic advisory services at their schools.

Advising Transitioning College Students

Research has found that 75 percent of students enter college without having final decisions made about their careers or majors. Noel and Cuseo estimate that 50 to 75 percent of college students will change their major at least once during their college career. In their paper, Advising Students in Transition, compiled in the book Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook, authors Steele and McDonald found that some of the major reasons for students changing their major include:

Lack of information:

two guys looking down at laptopsIt is important to do as much research as possible when selecting a degree program. Equally important is to enroll in the right courses that work toward fulfilling the degree requirements. Many college students make the mistake of enrolling in a course simply because it fits within their schedules or out of sheer interest. An academic advisor will guide students to make the best decisions based on their majors and provide information as well as options to help them fulfill their degree requirements without wasting time and money on irrelevant classes.

Outside influences:

Students who are undecided about their major can be vulnerable to outside influences that could either help or hinder their decision with regard to selecting the right academic course. An academic advisor can help keep students focused on important goals.

Developmental issues and academic difficulties:

bird eye view of a college lecture hallThere could be learning factors that play into the indecisiveness of selecting the right degree program and courses. Not being able to see the big picture with regard to completing the required credit hours needed can be quickly rectified with the assistance of academic counseling. Advisors are able to identify such issues and recommend necessary resources that students can utilize to excel in their chosen programs.

Involuntary:

While it is possible for students to enroll as undecided majors, doing so without proper academic advice could leave them aimlessly wandering through college without any direction. Degrees programs are designed so that students can enjoy the benefit of adhering to a certain structure. offers structure and a degree.

The Key to Student Retention

The answer to turning college hopefuls into successful students and retaining them can be found at the heart of a strong academic advising program. As researcher C.L. Nutt states in a National Academic Advising Association research article, “Academic Advising and Student Retention and Persistence:”

“Academic advising is the very core of successful institutional efforts to educate and retain students. For this reason, academic advising should be viewed as the ‘hub of the wheel’ and not just one of the various isolated services provided for students. Academic advisors offer students the personal connection to the institution that the research indicates is vital to student retention and success.”

It is absolutely critical for students to have academic advisors to serve as their beacons throughout their college experience.

Students are more likely to stay in school and feel more positive about their college experience if they have access to academic advisors. In Alexander Astin’s research, which involved 200,000 students and more than 300 institutions, he recorded in his book, Four Critical Years:

“[S]tudent faculty interaction has a stronger relationship to student satisfaction with the college experience than any other variable.”

Using academic advising services can make a difference between graduating or dropping out, as well as finding the right career for your particular strengths. At Florida National University (FNU), our academic advisors are dedicated to providing the guidance that our students deserve. Whether you need to take more online courses or blend your degree program by taking classes in our campus locations a couple of times per week, our advisors can steer you in the right direction. You should also know that FNU offers scholarships and financial assistance opportunities to qualified students. For more information on our degree and certificate programs, contact us today.

Functions of a University Academic Advisor

man holding his hand upAn academic advisor is not someone who simply hands you a schedule and calls you in if your grades are slipping; far from this being the case, the reach and influence of an advisor are greater and more important. Advisors are professionals advocate for students progressing through the academic system known as higher education.

Astin goes on to propose the three main functions of an academic advisor:

  1. The advisor works as a humanizing agent whose interaction with students occurs outside the classroom and in an informal setting, so the student feels comfortable seeking the advisor out.
  2. The advisor works as counselor or mentor who helps guide students through academic policy and procedure, offers advice and listens, and refers them to support when needed.
  3. The advisor works as an educator or instructor who teaches students strategies for success and helps them understand the curriculum, the purpose of their academic program, and encourages problem-solving critical thinking, and decision-making.

Academic advising is key to any student’s success in college. Unfortunately, academic advisors don’t get enough credit. FNU, a regionally accredited private college serving the South Florida community, aims to change this by educating students on the importance of academic advising. The advantages of personally meeting with an academic advisor include:

  • Help monitor students’ academic progress.
  • Offer students a better connection with the faculty and administrators.
  • Give students the ability to navigate the university policies and procedures better.
  • Assist students in selecting, changing, adding, or canceling classes.

Just a simple visit to the office can make a far-reaching difference in the realization of your college endeavor. Students at FNU can access support from academic advisors easily when they attend either our campus locations in Miami or Hialeah; if you are interested in completing your degree program completely online, our advisors can inform you as to how you can accomplish this. If you’re thinking about starting or continuing your college education, get in touch with our admissions counselors today.