Why my advisee does not respond to my message?

It is normal to find a particular group of non-responsive students who do not respond to advisers’ invitations or feel uncomfortable to seek advice from teachers. Although the reasons may vary based on different factors such as advising policy and culture, institutional culture, and academic policy (Nelson, 2013; Harding, 2008; Gordon, 2007), we can look into these students’ needs and concerns before approaching them.

Those non-responsive students may think

  • They are “all-knowing” and they have already obtained the information from different channels, such as peers, and/or online sources.
  • They do not know what they can discuss with an adviser because they do not know his/her role and what he/she can help them.
  • They are already busy with classes, assignments, and/or other learning activities.
  • They feel intimidated to see a “Professor” and/or they have poor previous experiences.

But what worries advisers most is that

  • They do not want to talk about their study issues – an early sign of avoidance.

Key Takeaways for Student Advising

  1. Sending a customized email may help to break the ice between you and the students.
  2. In the email, you can introduce yourself and explain your role.
  3. Timing is important. Send your email when your students need to make important academic decisions. Students would have higher motivation to respond to adviser’ invitations during some key periods, such as release of grades, course selection, add/drop period, major/minor selection.

There is further information about “How to draft an effective advising email?“.


Gordon, V. N. (2007). The undecided college student: An academic and career advising challenge (3rd ed.). Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.
Harding, B. (2008). Students with specific advising needs. In V. N. Gordon, W. R. Habley, T. J. Grites (Eds.), Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook (2nd ed.; pp. 189–203). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Nelson, M.J. (2013). The Unreachable Student: Techniques and Strategies to Increase the Influence of Academic Advising. The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal, 15. Retrieved from https://journals.psu.edu/mentor/article/view/61290/60923