Elon University Academic SupportAcademic Support

Supporting Your College Student

Understanding the roles that students, advisors, and parents play is an important first step in creating an optimal academic advising environment.  

Academic advisor role

    Monitor student progress and guide the student toward academic success;
    Help the student understand his or her responsibilities toward academic success;
    Act as a liaison between the institution and the student;
    Act as an advocate for the student;
    Refer the student to appropriate institutional resources.

In many ways the academic advisor is a teacher and facilitator. Advisors foster and encourage personal and intellectual growth in students (Crookston, 1972); they do more than help students register for classes. Academic advisors are well informed about the institution's resources available to students. Academic advising is not a 'one-stop shop' but a wealth of knowledge that can help students navigate the institutional system. In short, the academic advisor assists students in the development of meaningful educational plans that are compatible with personal and/or career goals and instill a desire for lifelong learning.

Student role

    Responsible for learning and understanding;
    Monitor his or her own academic progress;
    Know the degree requirements of the college and major of interest;
    Communicate with the advisor regarding issues and/or concerns about academics or student life;
    Attend classes;
    Manage time for class preparation;
    Become familiar with university resources;
    Understand and adhere to university policies.

Student responsibility is the key to all development and learning (Davis & Murrell, 2003). In order to have a successful and meaningful college experience, students must accept full responsibility for their personal and academic progress. Academic advisors and parents can act as role models to help students accept this responsibility.

Parent role:

    Be available to support and encourage;
    Maintain regular contact;
    Offer advice (when appropriate);
    Encourage students to do things they can do for themselves;
    Allow students to make mistakes in this safe environment.

One of the most important and valuable things parents can offer their college students is support and encouragement. Because students of today's generation look up to their parents as mentors and role models, positive reinforcement from parents is crucial to college success. It is also important that advisors, students, and parents support each other in helping students make responsible decisions that will shape their future. Young college students are in the process of realizing their autonomy. Helping parents understand the importance of letting their children do things for themselves can help students emerge as capable adults. If parents understand the competencies and expertise of the academic advisor, they are more likely to trust the judgment and wisdom of the advisor and allow their children to experience and appreciate the new and exciting challenges college life can bring.

Source:  Menezes, M. D. (2005). Advisors and parents: Together building stronger advising relationships.Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/tabid/3318/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/114/article.aspx