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Trends and Tips for Being a Better Student Advisor

By Lee Perlis July 6, 2018

Learn about Salesforce Advisor Link for student successGreat advisors are copilots on the student journey. They guide, support, direct, and most importantly, inspire their students.

As our team works with colleges and universities across the country on Salesforce Advisor Link, we’re sharing tips on combining the art and science of advising, using technology to drive student success in a whole new way.

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Diversity and Inclusion with Advising

Advising is critical for student success and retention. With the students that universities serve becoming more and more diverse, advisors have to work harder to decrease gaps and look at all of the factors that influence student success, beyond just academics. Students face more stress than ever before; even a small percentage increase in student retention can have a positive effect on revenue and rankings.

Being Holistic

That’s where advisors can help in taking a holistic view of students and what they need. Advising makes a difference, especially for at-risk students. It can mean the difference between a student being homesick and failing and then succeeding and being a mentor for other students. Advisors play a critical role in student success because advisors can step in, offer an empathetic ear, and help students feel safe in talking about the challenges they face and find resources to help them adjust. You can’t underestimate how much helping students with mental and physical well-being and academic habits can make a difference. Advisors can help students acclimate to campus and their life, not just how they’re doing academically, to help them be successful.

How Technology and Data Help Advisors Make an Impact

Students are demanding more from their college experience. Salesforce Advisor Link can help.Whether you’re advising one-on-one or in a group, it’s important for students to feel a sense of belonging. It’s hard to do that if you’re sending an email blast with the same reminder to hundreds of students. Technology can help you personalize your relationships with students, so you can show that you really care and are genuinely interested in what they’re going through, what their interests are, and how you can help them. When an advisor builds a trusted relationship, students will open up a lot more to an advisor, because you’re not there to judge them. Validating a student’s experiences is incredibly meaningful.

Technology helps advisors like you be proactive and connect with students where they want, and be more efficient with your time. With technology you can spend more time with students that need help. You can reach out more instead of waiting for them to come to you.

What this might look like in practice is: you can see who hasn’t registered for courses yet and why, and reach out proactively to check in, that prompts students to say “Wow, a real person cares and wants to help me” that’s not a generic email. Without the technology, you’d have to go through the list one at a time, but with tools like Salesforce Advisor Link, you can run a report to see who hasn’t registered for a specific course or missed a deadline and automatically send a reminder via text or email.

Great advisors interact with students daily using a variety of methods, not just in person, but also texting and emailing with them. You might use an online group they can join, send calendar reminders and more. It helps to create a community so students don’t feel lost or alone, especially if your advisor to student ratios are large.

Technology can also help advisors anticipate student needs. This is especially true for first-generation college students, who may not be aware of what the expectations are and what resources are available to them.

Data-Informed Advising

Personalized advising can be more scalable because of data. A key to retention is identifying at-risk students and quickly delivering data-driven student support so you can customize your messages and intervene before it’s too late. When you can easily see who’s falling behind, you can try to engage and your students earlier and they know someone has their back and willing to help them succeed.

Want to learn more about Salesforce Advisor Link?

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For more emerging trends in student advising, here’s a helpful infographic from EdSurge on Advising Yesterday vs. Today:

infographic from EdSurge on Advising Yesterday vs. Today