5 ways to help your advisees navigate the second semester with more success
Now that your advisees have completed half of their first year studies. Here are some tips and resources for you to foster their learning experience and keep their momentum going in the second semester.

To help navigate the second semester

1. Reflection and personal growth

Many first-year students feel overwhelmed and at times lost. Help them reflect on their first-semester experience and identify development areas:

Verbalize clearer goals

Have they learned more about what do they want to achieve in personal, academic and career aspects?

Adjust to U learning

What study skills/habits did they find most/least effective? See more ideas under “5. Late assignment submission” below.

Master self-management

How well have they learned to manage time and set priorities? Please click here

2. Academic support

Bridging the gap between secondary education and university learning is a big challenge for most year one students. How many learning resources do they know?

AASO’s latest 3-min briefing ‘Ace your assignment with library tools’

Check whether they know about library tools, HKU-subscribed databases, subject librarians that can help them in researching different subjects? Please click here

Study Roadmap and campus support network

Students don’t know what they don’t know. Show them available resources and reduce the “student traffic” that you have to handle. Please click here

3. Major and Careers

Most students in programmes with major/minor options may want to explore their interest in the first year and make a declaration in year two. The following are two resources to help them make a well-considered choice.

    • AASO complete list of major minor.

      Invite your advisees to check out the major / minor list at the AASO Website where they can find information listed by subject and by Faculty. They can also request to meet with a TAA (Temporary Academic Adviser) who advises students, from home and non-home faculties, about the subject as a major/minor.

    • Answers to career-related concerns by CEDARS Careers Advisers

      a. Should I choose a major by employment prospects?

      Employment prospects is only one of the many factors to consider when selecting a major. The job market is changing more quickly nowadays, and it is becoming more difficult to forecast the prospects of different industries and job roles. It is therefore important to consider other aspects: Personality and Preferences: Our personality and preferences are closely related to our work and communication styles, hence help determine the work nature and environment that suit us best. Interests and Passion: If students are certain about their interests and passion in certain career, they should go for a major/minor that would prepare them for that particular field. For students who are not sure, they can take courses which they like and try different activities to discover their directions.

      b. Should I do a double major?

      Based on our interaction with employers, students with a double major may give employers an impression that they have stronger academic or intellectual abilities, but that will not make them more qualified than other candidates with a major and a minor or only a major. Employers will look for answers from students during the screening and interview process to questions like — “Do candidates possess the relevant knowledge and skills for the job? “— The key is whether the major/minor studies provide a positive and persuasive reflection on candidates’ qualities, including interest and passion, knowledge, and hard and soft skills.

      c. If I major and minor in two very different disciplines, would employer question my clarity of goals?

      Students with two very different major and minor may either have a broad interest or uncertainty in their true interests or goals. The key is how they present themselves to employers throughout the application and interview process. They should clarify their career goals and demonstrate confidence in possessing such a diverse and unique combination of knowledge and skills from two different fields of studies, as well as to help employers see how they differentiate themselves from other candidates with the ability to contribute to their company.

To identify potential at-risk students

Sometimes teachers can help identify potential at-risk students, whether their advisees or not, by their problematic study behaviours.

4. Be alert: Late course changes

For different reasons, some students may request to “late-drop” a course which is normally not allowed. Support students to take responsibility of their decisions.

Consult Faculty policies

Advise your advisees to contact the Faculty office about the special approval form/procedures. Justifications would be needed.

Delve deeper if needed

Take the opportunity to find out the underlying causes and the nature of difficulties encountered by the student. Encourage students to find a solution. Make referrals if needed.

5. Be alert: Late Submission of Assignments

You may have students who requested for late submission of assignments (which you approved) but at the end never handed in anything. Email them to ask for an explanation. That might help them face their problem and find a solution.

Study anxiety

It is a common problem but the consequences, i.e. lost marks and low grades, may demotivate the learners who stray further away than work to overcome the difficulties. Students may find training in mindfulness and relaxation helpful. See more.

Try new study methods

Remind students to deal with their weaknesses such as procrastination e.g. be self-disciplined, set time-table and work in chunks etc. Suggest new study methods e.g. “Study Together” and “Teach”. Students who study together outperform students who study alone. Teaching is an incredibly powerful way to learn so find a study group member or friend who wants to learn about the course content and teach them!

Talk with a counselor

Students in distress need timely professional help. Counsellors and Clinical psychologists from CEDARS-CoPE may help.

Further Information: Interested in more reading on Academic Advising?

High-Impact Advising: A guide for Academic Advisors (HKU Libraries call no 378.194 O38)

(See the sample pages here.)

You are welcome to contact us if you need information or assistance. Happy Advising!
Academic Advising and Scholarships Office