Every advising method is an opportunity to provide students with academic support and to empower students with available academic options. Timely execution of any of the advising methods is critical to establishing and building an advising relationship. Advisers can choose the advising method that works best for the circumstance:

Individual advising

Individual advising is a one-on-one meeting between the adviser and advisee. It is ideal for discussing specific academic progress and goals of the advisee. Therefore, it is critical to thoroughly review your advisee’s academic records before the appointment. It is equally beneficial for the advisee to come prepared with an academic plan and a list of questions related to his/her overall academic goals.

Group advising

Closely resembles classroom teaching, group advising is a particularly efficient method for delivering information and offering general advice, e.g. advising about major requirements, preparing student for course registration or reviewing core curriculum requirements. The group advising method has several benefits:

  • Community building
  • Ability to connect students with peer group
  • Strong normative influence
  • Establish professional and positive advising relationship
  • Removal of intimidation factor

Click Group Advising Step-by-Step to set up your first group advising meeting.

Group advising step by step:

  1. Reserve space to handle the projected group size.
  2. Notify students of group advising session and expectations.
  3. Create any handouts, e.g., curriculum guides, worksheets, course selection forms.
  4. Draft an agenda to guide the meeting and help with time management.
  5. Invite student advisers or colleagues who may be willing to help.
  6. Preview student records in SIS for academic and demographic background and try to anticipate questions that student might raise.
  1. Welcome students and thank them for participating.
  2. Conduct a brief introduction or icebreaker activity related to the purpose of the session and to promote identity with the group.
  3. Go through the agenda, pausing frequently for questions and carefully monitoring the group for signals that further clarification is needed.
  4. Ask for questions from the group. Be patient, but do not demand responses. Consider allowing time after the session for individual questions too.
  5. Collect necessary forms including sign-up sheet and evaluation (if applicable).
  6. Thank students for their participation and emphasis future advising expectations.
  1. Make notes for your records on topics of discuss and common questions.
  2. Follow-up to make individual advising appointments.
  3. Collaborate with other campus departments and make referrals as necessary.

Although commonly utilized in comprehensive advising strategy, group advising must not completely replace individual advising sessions.

Virtual Advising

Delivery of advising through technology has become common in recent years. Apart from email, advising can be conducted via video-conferencing (E.g. Zoom, Skype), instant messaging (e.g. Whatsapp, Wechat or chat functions on Zoom, Teams) and online instructional systems (e.g. Moodle). An alternative to traditional face-to-face advising, it is particularly helpful for students participating in off-campus academic activities or during online teaching periods.


Donald Woolston and Rebecca Ryan (2007). “Group Advising”. In The New Advisor Guidebook: Mastering the Art of Advising Through the First Year and Beyond, ed. Pat Folsom and Ban Chamberlain (Kansas: National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), 2007), p.119-123.

Jayne Drake, Martha Hemwall and Kathy Stockwell (2009). A Faculty Guide to Academic Advising (National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), 2009).