Academic Advising

Font Size: A A A
Printer-friendly version

E.1 Introduction


The faculty advisor is a key person in individualizing the student’s education at DCC. This function is especially important as the advisor-advisee relationship provides students with a consistent and ongoing relationship to the college. The advisor role is primarily to ensure that advisees understand the college environment, provide recommendations and assistance in course/program selection, and to aid the advisee in meeting the challenges and realizing the opportunities that are available to them.


E.2 Academic Requirements


All students will be required to meet the requirements of their educational program as specified in the DCC Catalog. Students may choose to follow the program requirements of either the catalog they first enroll under or the one for the year in which they are graduating. If a student is not enrolled at DCC for a 12-month period, the student must use the current catalog. Exceptional circumstances may allow substitution of a class or waiver of the requirement. Any such substitutions or waivers must be petitioned to the Dean of Instructional Services.


E.3 Assigning Advisees to Advisors


Assigning student advisors is the responsibility of the Director of Admissions.


A number of variables are considered when selecting an advisor for the student:

1. The advisor’s current advisee load.

2. The student’s interests.

3. The student’s academic, degree, and career goals.

4. Special needs of the student.

5. The student’s preference for a specific advisor.


NOTE: DCC hosts orientation, advising, and pre-registration sessions during the summer months. Depending upon the session, students may or may not have met with their assigned advisor during this session. In cases where students met with someone other than their assigned advisor, students are encouraged to then meet with their assigned advisor upon arrival at the DCC campus in the fall.


If the student wishes to change advisors/majors:

  1. The student requests and completes the change of major/advisor form by contacting the Business Office.
  2. The student should then request that his/her former advisor forward the student’s advising file to the new advisor.
  3. If the student’s goals change, their advisor may also change.


E.4 The Advising Process


E.4.1 Orientation and Placement Testing


All new and transfer students are required to take placement tests. These tests are then used in course selection. The recommendations for the English classes are mandatory while the recommendations for the mathematics courses are not. Selection of math courses will depend upon a combination of the placement scores, high school grades, and ACT/SAT scores.


In order to properly advise a student, the following information should be made available for the advisor:

  1. Student high school transcript
  2. Student ACT/SAT scores
  3. Pre-printed registration form
  4. Semester course schedule
  5. Course schedule worksheet
  6. Placement test scores and recommendations
  7. Student Advising Questionnaire
  8. Curriculum worksheets (available from the Dean of Instruction’s office)

During the initial interview:

  1. The advisor should review the student advising questionnaire, placement test scores, ACT scores, & high school transcript.
  2. The advisor should discuss with the student what his/her academic plan is at DCC.
  3. The advisor should explain program areas and requirements using the DCC catalog, any transfer institution catalog, articulation guides (if applicable) and curriculum worksheets.
  4. The advisor and student should work up a plan of study for the semester/year (or two semesters/years), determining which courses to take during the current semester and the following semester(s).
  5. The student should complete the registration form; the advisor signs the form and keeps a copy for the advisee’s file.
    1. If a student does not choose to follow the advisor’s suggestions, the advisor may use the Waiver of Advice Form to document that information.
    2. Students taking 21 credits or more must receive authorization from the Dean of Instruction.
  6. The advisor should explain the registration process to the student and answer any questions the student may have.


E.4.2 Advisee Files


Advisee files are to be maintained by the advisor for two (2) years after the student leaves. After that time, the files may be destroyed. The following information should be kept in advisee files:

    1. Copy of high school transcript / GED certificate (if available)
    2. Copy of previous college transcripts (if applicable)
    3. Copy of transfer evaluation from Registrar’s office (if available)
    4. Placement test scores and report.
    5. Copies of registration forms.
    6. Curriculum worksheets.
    7. Drop/Add forms- for courses added / dropped during the semester.
    8. Midterm reports.
    9. Student grade reports.
    10. Copy of the Student Withdrawal Form (if student withdraws completely from school).
    11. Documentation of any visits with student.

E.4.3 Pre-Registration and Registration Procedures


E.4.3.1 Procedures for Advisors


  1. Meet with advisees on the assigned day(s) or at a time that is individually arranged.
  2. Usually a pre-registration form will be provided to you from the Registrar; if this form is not available the student can complete the generic registration form which may be obtained from the main office. Have students indicate corrections to the personal information on the pre-printed form or fill out the generic form completely. Fill in the complete course information including class number, name, section, credits, days, times, etc.
  3. The advisor should sign the registration form before the student goes to the registration line in the Main hallway. Advisors may request that the student return a copy of the form once registration is completed.
  4. The average student class load for one semester is fifteen hours of academic credit. Maximum load is eighteen hours. If a student wishes to enroll for more than eighteen semester hours of credit, their advisor must discuss the implications of this decision with them. To enroll in more than twenty hours, the student must obtain the advisor’s approval, and the approval of the Dean of Instructional Services.
  5. Some courses may close during advising. The closures will be announced and a “closed course” list will be posted in various places throughout the college. The lists should be checked periodically.


E.4.3.2 Procedures for Students


  1. Students who have not pre-registered and know their advisor should make contact and complete the advising session. If students don’t know their advisor, they should see the Director of Admissions (if a new student) or the Registrar (for returning students).
  2. All students must have a registration form to enter the registration line. There will be additional forms that they should fill out and return to the right depository. Pre-registered students will pick up their form at the Information Table and may skip Step 3 and Step 4.
  3. Go to the Computer Station 1 (Classified information).
  4. Go to the Computer Station 2 (Course entry).
  5. All students receiving any type of financial aid go to the designated Financial Aid Office (this includes scholarships and waivers).
  6. Go to the Business Office to pay fees. *A late registration fee will be assessed if fees are not paid on registration day.
  7. Go to the Bookstore to purchase books.


E.5 Scheduled Advising Sessions


The key to good advising is the interaction between the student and advisor over the course of the student’s tenure at DCC. Periods of time are set aside for this express purpose and the purpose of these sessions is to help the student fulfill his/her goals at college and in their selected program of study.


E.5.1 General Information


During advising sessions, the advisor should:

  1. Discuss with the student the activities and services available at the college. This should include a careful explanation of the services the advisor can provide.
  2. Discuss with the student his/her life and career goals, and if needed, refer the student to other sources of help and information.
  3. Give the student an opportunity to share appropriate past experiences, interests, special needs, and specific academic concerns.
  4. Help the student reaffirm or select a major which is in keeping with the student’s life and career goals, and when needed, assists the student in changing majors and/or advisors. If the student is undecided, provide resources available on campus that will help the student make a decision.
  5. Review with the student the courses in his/her program that he/she will need to take to fulfill graduation requirements.
  6. Help the student select the courses for his/her terms of attendance.
  7. Instruct the student on how to complete the registration forms and explain the registration process and payment of fees.
  8. Schedule, if needed, additional conferences with the student and point out regularly scheduled office hours in which advising may occur.


In addition to the ongoing advising that occurs on a regular basis, there are specific periods in which the advising process is very important.


E.5.2 First Conference/Beginning of Each Semester


The first conference a student has with an advisor is generally held in conjunction with the student’s first pre-registration of classes at DCC. (In some cases, a student has already completed their orientation and course selection during a summer session. In these instances an advisor should plan to meet with their advisee even if the student has already gone through Advance Registration.) Several activities should occur at this time:

  1. Clarify the remaining steps of the registration process.
  2. Explain the curriculum of the student’s chosen area of study.
    1. Course prerequisites, terminology, credit, core, transferable credits and sequence courses
    2. Courses which are taught only one-term/year
    3. Full or part-time status
    4. Implications of placement test results.
    5. Lecture courses that include a lab.
  3. Obtain information as to whether the student plans to transfer to another institution upon completion at DCC (check Articulation Agreements).
  4. Encourage advisee to become familiar with college services, policies, and tutors (i.e. drop/add, career advising, student support services, etc.)
  5. Use the Student Advising Questionnaire as a reference; discuss anything relevant to the student including extra curricular activities, part-time or full-time jobs, family responsibilities, etc.
  6. Document the advising session.


After completion of their first semester, the student and advisor would benefit by a review of the first semester grade report. This conference should help the student in laying out a tentative plan for graduation on a realistic basis. At this time, the student should be able to anticipate any needed adjustments to their objectives, and/or course of study.


E.5.3 Mid-Semester/Pre-Registration Conferences


DCC schedules time during the fall and spring semesters to allow currently enrolled students the opportunity to pre-register for the next semester. Some students may have received mid-term warnings from instructors while other students may not know how they are doing in their classes.


For students who have received mid-term warnings, discuss the basic reasons and causes for academic difficulty and/or take note of demonstrated successes. In addition:

1. Offer personal help. Alert advisees to other sources of help for academic difficulty, such as the Career Center, Learning Center and Student Support Services.

  1. Encourage advisees to visit with each of their instructors for individualized help in their classes.
  2. Help those advisees who are in serious academic trouble to understand the importance of improving their grades in order to remain in school. In some cases, it may be appropriate to withdraw from a course or two in order to devote additional study time to those remaining credits.
  3. Explain the implication in regards to Financial Aid of both passing too few credits and receiving a low GPA. Students must be making satisfactory progress in order to continue receiving financial aid. Students often think they have to carry “F” credits to stay eligible for Financial Aid, when in fact, only passed credits count and the “F” hurts their GPA as well as their credit load.
  4. Document the visit.


For students who are doing well in their courses, the following activities are recommended:

  1. Review current semester academic progress and make suggestions for future educational plans.
  2. Assist advisees in selecting courses for the coming semester.
  3. When a student pre-registers, grades for the current semester are not available for the advising process. The assumption is made that the student will successfully complete current course work. Follow-up on student registration once grades are available. If courses are not completed satisfactorily, courses for the upcoming semester may need to be changed.
  4. Update Curriculum worksheet with student.
  5. Document the visit.
  6. Contact students who did not make pre-registration appointments.


E.5.4 Other Considerations


More than one conference each semester may be necessary for first-year students. However, most freshmen need more help than they are willing to ask for in understanding the educational possibilities inherent in themselves and in the college. Students planning to transfer should be encouraged and assisted by the advisor in making early decisions regarding program of study, choice of institution and acquisition of appropriate materials.


E.5.5 Mid-Term Warnings


It is important that the advisor has a conference with the student if a student receives a mid-term warning in one or more of his/her classes. It may be necessary to contact an advisee’s instructors to get additional information on the student’s problems. While meeting with the student, help him/her decide what action must be taken to remedy the situation. If necessary, refer the student to the proper resources for assistance. Document the visit and follow-up.


E.6 General Advising Guidelines and Suggestions


E.6.1 Effective Advising Tips


Some activities and responsibilities which will help the faculty advisor be an effective advisor include, but are not limited to:

  1. Acquaint advisees with the program requirements, college regulations, services, and opportunities.
  2. Help advises understand their past educational achievements and how they are related to their present educational goals.
  3. Increase advisees’ awareness of abilities and talents through the use of test results and other data, i.e. placement scores, ACTs/SATs.
  4. Help advisees plan each term’s selection of courses and, if possible, a two-year program. It is suggested that each advisee complete a Curriculum Worksheet and that both advisee and advisor keep a copy.
  5. Assist advisees when they are not achieving in accordance with their responsibilities, helping them plan activities to correct their difficulties.
  6. Refer advisees as needed to other persons and services.
  7. Be aware of each advisee’s progress in their various pursuits by sufficient contact and the keeping of accurate records.


E.6.2 Other Specific Responsibilities


In addition, the advisor’s other specific responsibilities include:

  1. Read and/or review the student catalog and employee handbook periodically.
  2. Be aware of all academic policies and graduation requirements.
  3. Evaluate student’s transcripts and test scores with respect to courses or program of study in which he/she is interested.
  4. Maintain and up-date advisement information on each advisee whenever an interview is held. Specific items to be noted are:
    1. Student’s stated educational goals; including transfer school if applicable.
    2. Any acknowledged personal or academic difficulties.
    3. Hobbies, sports, work plans, etc.; work schedule if employed on/off campus.
    4. Accurate record of advice given each student.
    5. Indicate if advice was followed and if not, why student has not done so.
  5. See each advisee individually at least once every semester and schedule additional conferences as needed.
  6. Be available, and make special appointments if required, to assist students with registration, pre-registration, and appropriate academic guidance and counseling.
  7. Keep accurate record of courses taken, together with grades received, both at DCC and at other institutions, to insure that general education or major requirements are fulfilled and to check on overall cumulative grade point average for graduation.
  8. Follow-up on students whose academic standing places them on “Academic Probation.”
  9. Follow-up on students who do not register or express an intention to leave prior to graduation, or request assistance in this regard from the Student Service’s Office and submit student names to this office.


E.6.3 Other Advising Hints


Advising Format & General Procedures:

  • Document visits with your advisees.
  • Be available; keep office hours and appointments.
  • When in doubt, refer to catalog, advisor’s handbook, colleagues, etc…
  • Keep in frequent contact; take the initiative; don’t always wait for students to come to you.
  • Acknowledge advisees in informal settings.
  • Monitor advisees’ progress toward educational goals.
  • Use all available information sources.
  • Follow up on commitments made to advisees.
  • Keep an anecdotal record of significant conversations for future reference.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your advising.
  • Don’t be critical of other faculty or staff to advisees.
  • Be knowledgeable about career opportunities and job outlook for various majors.
  • Don’t betray confidential information.
  • Be aware of FERPA (Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act) rules and regulations.


E.6.4 Advising with the Student


  • Begin listing student courses on the Curriculum Worksheet the first semester a student begins working toward a degree.
  • Make sure advisee understands college terminology (major/program of study, credits, full-time, part-time, core courses, etc.)
  • Provide accurate information.
  • Don’t make decisions for the student; help them make their own decisions.
  • Focus on advisees’ strengths and potentials rather than limitations.
  • Be realistic with advisees.
  • Clearly outline advisees’ responsibilities.
  • Encourage advisees to consider and develop career alternatives when appropriate.


E.6.5 Listening Skills


  • Care about advisees by showing empathy, understanding and respect.
  • Establish a warm, genuine, and open relationship.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Establish rapport by remembering personal information about advisees. If information is too personal and needs professional care make referrals.
  • Encourage advisees to talk by asking open ended questions.
  • Categorize advisees’ questions: Are they seeking action, information, or involvement and understanding.
  • Be yourself and allow advisees to be themselves.


E.6.6 Problems and Referrals


  • Know how and when to make referrals, and be familiar with referral sources.
  • Don’t refer too hastily; on the other hand, don’t attempt to handle situations for which you are not qualified.
  • Have students contact referral sources in your presence.
  • Determine reasons for poor academic performance and direct advisees to appropriate support services.


E.6.7 Campus Resources for Student Referral


    1. If the student is having problems with studying or time management, refer them to: The Learning Center or Student Support Services.
    2. If the student is having financial difficulties, refer them to Financial Aid or a short-term loan.
    3. If the student is having a problem deciding on a major or choosing a career, refer them to the Career Center / Advisor.
    4. If the student is having personal, social, or family problems, refer them to Mental Health.
    5. If the student needs job placement assistance, refer them to the Career Center/Advisor.
Our Mission | Contact Us | Site Map | A-Z Index | Privacy Policy | Problems?
Dawson Community College | 300 College Drive | Glendive, Montana 59330
Phone: 1.406.377.3396 | Toll-Free: 1.800.821.8320 | Fax: 1.406.377.8132