My Advising Philosophy Essay

Table of Content

My interest in education and student advising did not follow any type of traditional career path, but rather it developed along with my career. As a first generation and ESL student in a foreign country, I was unaware of available resources such as advising. I arrived for college in this country with high school English knowledge embellished by having spent a year in Scotland. I learned how to register for classes and which books to buy, and figured out the rest on my own as I went along. I immersed myself in a variety of classes and extracurricular campus activities. Initially blissfully unaware of my German-Scottish accent and of the concept of cultural differences between my home country and the U.S., I navigated college, the choice of a major, work and personal life in a new country the best I could. I became a top student with a full Presidential Scholarship and without a clear idea of where I was headed. Then came the day I had to declare a major and I figured geography sounded interesting. I found the department chair, he handed me a course requirement sheet, I followed the outlined major requirements to graduation, and that was that. What I didn’t understand then was the concept of advising and the tremendous help I could have received in choosing a major and career path, or in taking prerequisites and navigating financial aid for graduate school. Just before graduation I visited the Psychology department to explore an advanced degree and found an informational summary in the hall. I was too intimidated by the financial burden and GRE requirement for application to go back.

Fast forward many years to 2009 when I learned the importance of advising. I found myself in search of a job and the University of Utah beckoned with many job postings. I began my journey in academia at the School of Business’ Masters Office, and so I found my passion: “my” applicants and students. Beyond the administrative duties and beyond the realization of why I was enjoying my new job so much, my responsibilities quickly grew to include many aspects of applicant and student interaction, recruitment, advising and retention. One of my annual reviews gave me the best compliment I could wish for when my supervisor wrote “There is no doubt in my mind that our applicants have bonded with Inka”. While I never consciously defined my goal then, I know it now: applicant and student success. When the opportunity came along to move to a similar position at the College of Social Work, it was perfect. I could indirectly contribute to the meaningful field of social work, and continue supporting applicants and students. My passion is now very defined: Facilitating students’ dreams to become social workers by teaching them to navigate their educational path along with the natural growth and changes we all experience.

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Commitment to Students in the Framework of the CSW Mission and Advising Unit

I believe that the truest success has many facets and is not achieved alone. Within an educational organization, this means that the University’s, the College’s and the Advising unit’s mission statements will provide not only guidance, but also structure to my advising. The administrative and team aspect beyond what students see is as important to student success as their own efforts.

  • My goal is to see each student graduate, and to do so with the most positive impression of the College because of both my personal and the Advising team’s efforts. Recruitment, retention and referrals create a positive cycle for all involved.
  • Seeking ongoing professional development and adhering to the ethics of my department, CSW, University Advising and NACADA so I can fulfill my role successfully is of utmost importance.
  • I will stay informed about College and University changes and how they affect students.
  • As a University advisor, I will uphold policies and procedures, and be able to explain to students why they are in place. Difficult conversations will be eased by empathy, not compromise.
  • I will support my coworkers, and share and seek information within my team.
  • I will engage in self-appraisal, seek feedback and as my advising knowledge and insights grow, I expect to modify my advising philosophy.
  • I will check in with students regularly, and keep appointments and accurate records so as to not fail students and my department.

Advising Theories and Typologies in Today’s Environment

• As a new advisor, I will pursue education about psychosocial, cognitive development and typological theories, as well as past and present applications and preferences in the educational environment.

• As I have progressed to believe that prescriptive advising methods don’t serve students best, I plan to develop my knowledge of developmental theories.

• I will educate myself about various personality types and how to best work with them in my advising.

Commitment to Personal, Professional and Ethical Relationships with Students

Students have the right to feel safe and individually cared about, and know their lives matter. This will also help them to be more receptive to my guidance within the framework of policies.

  • I will continually strive to be aware of my own biases and assumptions and to be non-judgmental, and not let my personal student preferences or dislikes affect the way I treat them.
  • I will understand and respect students’ individuality, diverse backgrounds and experiences. Students will be allowed to be themselves within the framework of academic and social expectations.
  • I will focus on what students are telling me and think about what they may not be telling me.
  • I am concerned about the increase in mental health issues in student populations and plan to continue my education in this area.
  • When a student issue is beyond the scope of capabilities and responsibilities, I will connect students to the appropriate resources and commit to follow-up.
  • When students tell me about issues they are having with administrators, instructors or fellow students, I will not let my personal opinions, experiences or knowledge be known to the student.

Commitment to Student Success and Accountability

True student success is achieved by teaching students to develop self-reliance and accountability by guiding them through personal change processes, educational transitions and along their academic path. Students are capable and I will assist, not hinder their growth.

  • My focus will be on offering information, encouragement and empathy, but I will not enable.
  • I will guide students to expand their personal horizons and comfort zones, and to seek challenge in personal growth and education.
  • I will be prepared for student appointments and students will be expected to do the same.
  • Students will know that there is more to a successful college experience than practical knowledge.

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