Feature: Helping Advisees to Overcome Their Anxiety

Helping Advisees to Overcome Their Anxiety

Helping Advisees to Overcome Their Anxiety
Among the various challenges faced by freshmen, not knowing how to communicate with professors is a common phenomenon which might affect their interaction with teachers and overall learning. Through Faculty Student Advisers, AAO collected various doubts and worries of students which helped us understand their reluctance to interact with their adviser:


I am worried …

How should I greet my Professor? I don’t know what the proper manner and tone should be.

My English is terrible, what if Professor could not understand what I said?

Professor might think my questions are silly. What if I made mistakes and ask a wrong question?

My Professor looks very serious. Will he mind me approaching him after class ?

Am I being inconsiderate to ask him question when he is so busy?




What should I do …

My Professor did not reply to my email, how long should I wait?

I don’t always understand what my Professor said, should I ask her to repeat?

Do I have to specify the date and time when requesting for a meeting? Is it ok to ask for 30 minutes?

Is it impolite to knock on his door if I know my Professor is in his office?

How to write a proper email?

I have a question, but no one in the class has any questions. Should I raise my hand?



To highlight the importance of this issue, AAO conducted a “Freshmen 101” workshop which focused on effective communication with professors. Through role-plays and discussion with our professor speakers, students gained a better understanding of what teachers expected from them on various occasions (for example, in class, email, meeting outside class time) and the proper ways of approaching their professors. More importantly, the workshop highlighted the significance of effective interaction in nurturing a fruitful teacher-student relationship where learning takes place. In the process, FAAs could also play a part by being friendly, patient and responsive to questions from advisees and guiding them to build a trusting relationship with their advisers.

Helping Advisees to Overcome Their Anxiety

Further resources:

  • Sue Ohrablo: “Advising is More Than a Yes/No Business: How to Establish Rapport and Trust with Your Students
  • Jessica Bigger: “Advising First-year Students” (Particularly the part on ‘Implications for Academic Advising’)
  • Margaret Walsh: “How to Make the Most of Your Office Hours” (Particularly the part on ‘Seven Ways to Interact with Students During Office Hours’)