How Advising Helps Students on Their Path to Graduation and Careers

By Navneet Johal | April 15, 2021 | | Education, Higher Education, Salesforce Advisor Link (SAL), Student Experience

Attention higher education advisors: If you’ve ever questioned if your work makes a difference, we’re here to tell you it absolutely does. Your communication and outreach plays a significant role in engaging students, supporting their wellbeing, and helping them develop skills for the future.

Student meeting with advisor virtually
Advisors have embraced new strategies and virtual solutions to ensure student success through the pandemic.

While the pandemic has made many students rethink their path to a “dream job” and plans for graduation, many of you within student services have also adapted (remarkably so) to the mantra of “meeting the students where they’re at.” Advisors are embracing new strategies and virtual solutions to mitigate face-to-face interactions and continue to ensure student success. 

Case in point: We recently spoke to one student about her path to graduation. She told us without hesitation that her advising experience was key to her success. 

Charlotte Perry, a student at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)

Charlotte Perry, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) student.

Charlotte Perry, 20, a student at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), plans to graduate from the nursing program there. “My goal is to become a labor and delivery nurse — I’ve always been inspired and passionate about that work.”

Every semester, Charlotte makes an appointment and gets a list of recommended classes that she needs to take. Last year, due to COVID-19, she found out from an advisor that she wouldn’t be able to take the nursing program entrance exam until later this year and suggested that she consider the Nursing Assistant Program, which she didn’t know about. The result? With continued hard work, she graduated with a nursing assistant certificate last fall, which helped her get a job as a patient care technician at the Lovelace Health System.

“That really helped keep me progress toward my goal of enrolling in the nursing program,” she says. I didn’t feel like I had to dig around and look for support, they just set it up for me. The advisors are reliable, supportive, and understanding — their support has been such a fundamental part of my student experience at CNM,” she says.

For example, Charlotte says she received ongoing reminders to help navigate her first year. She also relied on announcements posted on CNM’s main website, which include links to set up appointments with advisors. “They were super quick and efficient, and even if I had a meeting with a different advisor, they all knew where I was at and what my goals were.”

CNM, New Mexico’s largest community college, has transformed its advising within the last couple of years. The college’s academic coaches, school advisors, and achievement coaches help students over chat sessions or through online or in-person appointments.

Samantha Sengel, vice president of advancement and enrollment strategy at CNM. 

Samantha Sengel, vice president of advancement and enrollment strategy at CNM.

CNM offers a holistic advising model to students that provides wrap-around support services so they can plan and take on their educational and career goals. “Our goal is to meet students wherever they are and offer them advising and coaching services for academic, financial, study skills, and other community resources,” says Samantha Sengel, vice president of advancement and enrollment strategy at CNM. 

With more than 48,000 appointments in the 2019 – 2020 academic year for nearly 23,000 students, CNM saw a 10% higher rate of course registration with students who interacted through Advisor Link compared to the overall student population. 

Advisor Link has been key to connecting students and advisors to help with reskilling, graduating, achieving their dream job, and fulfilling their life purpose. In fact, 67% of students who have personalized advising at their institution say it’s a factor in helping them to succeed.

Most students enter higher education with a plan or a goal of reaching the finish line fairly seamlessly, but the reality is that there will be challenges. However, what’s important is that for every challenge — no matter what it is — there should be a support system for students. Advisor Link has empowered CNM’s students and advisors to collaborate more efficiently, understand students more deeply, and build stronger paths through graduation.

The number of keystrokes that CNM advisors need to do now to put a note in the system versus what they had to do before is dramatically different. CNM says it’s much more streamlined, and the workflow is much easier for its advisors.

For example, with Advisor Link, CNM can advise from anywhere and manage dynamic schedules with flexible appointment management. Robust case management and case deflection also provides students with the right answers, at the right time. And a unified advising record provides a holistic view of students with insights — and not just conversations about their academic performance, but about their overall wellbeing.

To learn how to achieve advising success at your school, please register for our webinar on April 22 at 11am PT to hear more about CNM’s experience with Advisor Link.


About the Author 

Navneet Johal, Director of Industry Solutions at Salesforce.org
Navneet Johal
is the director of industry solutions at Salesforce.org, supporting solutions across the student experience. Prior to joining Salesforce, Navneet was a solution director for higher education and research at SAP, and a senior analyst at Ovum, where she led research on the use of technology in higher education. Navneet’s passion for education and technology began when she was teaching in the further education sector in the U.K. for several years before moving to the U.S.