picture of Developmental advising: How to Make Your Advising Short and Effective

Developmental advising: How to Make Your Advising Short and Effective

With the recent release of semester one results, your advisees may approach you for information or help with the difficulties they encountered. In line with the developmental approach to advising that HKU adopts, this would be the time to fortify their learning experience and prepare them for more learning in semester two.

Given our work schedules which only get more and more hectic, 15-20 minutes is normally what advisers can afford to spend with each advisee. How can we conduct time-limited advising meeting in a way which promotes advisees’ growth?

icon of 1. One-minute prep time
1. One-minute prep time
Advising is for every student. But no advising is the same for each student. To understand your advisee’s need in the shortest time, invest one minute to look up her/his current academic status and identify potential concern (e.g. strong and weak subjects, study progress, missed semester, over loading/under loading). Reviewing your notes of last meeting, if any, may also refresh your memory.
icon of 2. Listen without interruption
2. Listen without interruption
Invite your advisee to tell you her/his situation and how you can help. Keep it open, friendly and allow silence. Clarify, if needed, after she/he finishes.
icon of 3. Hold back advice
3. Hold back advice
Holding back your advice is key throughout your advising meeting. Find out what your advisee has done to deal with the problem first. Reflect with her/him what is working and what is not in the action taken. Even if he/she has taken no action, this approach will remind your advisee of her/his responsibility towards studying and convey trust in her/his ability to find solutions.
icon of 4. Ask open-ended questions
4. Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are the most effective in helping you understand the nature of your advisee’s issue, her/his perception, priorities and values. It minimizes assumptions and values that every adviser might bring to the meeting. Through reflecting on the questions, your advisee could also raise her/his self-awareness.
icon of 5. Guide problem solving
5. Guide problem solving
To make a well-considered decision, your advisee should be open-minded to options. Empower her/him to see possible options and assess each based on her/his set of criteria, thereby increasing the sense of ownership of the decision made.
icon of 6. Refer without delay
6. Refer without delay
In the course of discussion, you might encounter problem areas which lie beyond your role. Refer promptly without hesitation. Here are some relevant campus resources and supporting units available for referrals: https://aas.hku.hk/other-study-support/

AASO produces advising guides and tips to facilitate your advising work. See and click selected topics below to access more.