Academic Advising
Building Connections

The First Meeting

Do you remember the first time you talked with a college advisor?  The teachable moment is there in that initial interview that may be forgotten.  It is a moment that may change students’ lives.  It is a moment that may have changed your life.  Students deserve time and attention.  They need a listening ear.  Whatever else this relationship becomes, students need eye contact and at least 60 seconds of total attention during that initial meeting.

Demands on advisors time are great, often frustration is high and students must wait for your attention.  They may need to wait until the advisor is able to concentrate.  Take a deep breath and then focus on the student.

Sample Questions for the First Meeting

The following ten questions are ideal for getting to know students, for breaking the ice, and setting the tone for the future advising sessions.  While some questions go beyond purely academic discussion, it is important that advisors know their students and not simply what their majors are.  The more advisors know about their students' goals and intentions, the easier it will be to provide useful advice and guidance.

  1. What do you hope to do with your life?  What are your goals?
  2. Why did you choose to come to Ivy Tech?
  3. What major or majors are you considering?
  4. Why are you considering those majors?
    • Is it to prepare for a career?
    • Do you really like that area of study?
    • What is important to you in your career?
  5. Are there any special situations that we need to consider in planning your educational program?  For example, do you have a job?  Are you responsible for your family?  Do you have a disability?  Do you have military obligations?  Do you commute a long distance?
  6. What questions do you have about:
    • Ivy Tech Community College
    • requirements
    • scheduling
    • the email system
    • other needs
  7. Where will you be living?  What kinds of extracurricular activities or hobbies do you like?  (sports, music, theater, student government, literary activities)
  8. Are you aware of the resources available to you (tutoring, success seminars, counseling, career planning, study abroad, student organizations, honors)?
  9. What, if anything, worries you about your college career?  Or do you have concerns about adjusting to the university?
  10. How can I as your advisor help you most?
    • Ivy Tech policies
    • scheduling
    • career guidance
    • problems-personal, academic
    • information

These questions can be used as a guideline for initial sessions with students and saved in a student file for future reference.

Sample Questions for Subsequent Meetings

Future meetings with advisees should serve to make life at Ivy Tech as productive and trouble-free as possible.  You should be ready to work with students to help solve problems they may encounter.  These meetings are also a time to make certain that the academic choices that students make correspond with their career goals.

  1. How are you enjoying Ivy Tech?  Do you know where to go to get help as you encounter any problems?
  2. How are your classes going?
  3. What student activities or organizations are you involved in?
  4. Do you know where you can find out more about campus activities?
  5. When do you plan to graduate?  Will you be planning to do a co-op or get related professional experience before that time?
  6. Let’s review a copy of your most recent resume. (If and when appropriate.)