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Academic Advising Handbook

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by Christina Sullivan on 8 February 2013

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Transcript of Academic Advising Handbook

Part 2 Academic Advising Handbook As we learned in Part 1, scheduling and registration are pieces of the advising puzzle. Taking a long-term approach to this planning process, these pieces can become vital to the student's ability to succeed. Registration Procedures Points to remember:
Students are expected to meet with you to talk about scheduling for an upcoming semester
For incoming students, scheduling and registration is completed with a counselor who also works with the students through admissions, placement testing, orientation, and other new student processes. Students are taught by counselors to meet with their assigned advisor (you) for long-term planning and future scheduling
Currently, all students must receive an alternate PIN to register for classes. The PIN changes each semester
Before giving a student a PIN, advisors review students' scheduling plans and help the student see how those plans fit long-term goals towards graduation
All students register online through Northern on the Web Several months to one year in advance: tentative schedule for a semester is viewable on NOW
1 month before registration: printed schedule is available
November (for spring and summer registration) or April (for fall registration): registration begins; students can begin reserving textbooks through the bookstore
Purge date: last day to pay for early registration (check the printed schedule); students who are not paid or who do not have completed financial aid files with aid eligibility are purged
1-2 weeks before classes start: book vouchers available for students using financial aid to buy books Scheduling & Registration
Timeline Advising opportunity If the opportunity to advise a student passes, the student may be lost in the process, leaving behind unrealized goals When you meet with a student to schedule, you can...
Check in with the student about his or her progress
Check in with the student about his or her life situation to see how this will affect academics (this also builds rapport)
Review the student's scheduling plans
Review how the schedule fits into the program sequence, explaining to the student how the plan keeps them on track, changes their path to graduation (to be longer or shorter, for instance), or derails them completely Part of quality advising includes directing students to resources, such as community service agencies and academic student support services. Advising as Support Northern provides free academic support to all students. These services include:
Tutoring in the Academic Success Centers
Support Services for Students with Disabilities
Early Warning intervention Academic Student Support Services Tutoring services are provided for students on all campuses, and online tutoring is available through a service, Smarthinking.com, which can provide a helpful alternative to in-person tutoring and to distance students. Here are some notes about tutoring:
Centers are open Monday-Friday
Tutors are available in multiple subjects, particularly math, English, biology, CIT, accounting, economics, sign language
If a center does not have a tutor in a subject, the staff will try to find a tutor or will direct a current tutor to help with basic student success skills that could improve student performance
Smarthinking.com provides online tutoring in English, math, sciences, CIT, accounting, and nursing
Tutors on campus are usually previous or current students who have earned a B or higher in the content, received a recommendation from a faculty member or other reliable source, and maintained a 3.0 institutional GPA
In addition to course content tutoring, tutors are available to teach students study skills, time management, and test-taking skills Tutoring in the Academic Success Centers Hours Wheeling: Monday-Thursday 8:00-7:00 & Friday 8-4:30
Weirton: Monday-Thursday 8:00-4:30 or later & Friday 8:00-4:30
New Martinsville: Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30 Staff Wheeling: Stephanie Smith (ssmith@wvncc.edu, ext 8922)

Weirton: Larry De Rosa (lderosa@wvncc.edu, ext. 7514)

New Martinsville: Dennis Bills (dbills@wvncc.edu, ext 8773) Northern provides accommodations for students with disabilities per the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA, Amendments Act. Examples of accommodations include:
Extended (double) test time
Isolation for testing
Oral reading/Kurzweil for testing and course content
Scribing for testing and assignments
Sign language interpreters
Physical accommodations, such as ergonomic tables
Speak-to-text (dictation) services

For more information about accommodation services, contact Support Services at extension 8938. Support Services for Students with Disabilities Per ADA, never ask a student if he or she has a disability or has been treated for a disability. Instead, if the student does not disclose a disability to you and as a regular part of your advising with students, say, "We have support services for students with disabilities. If you have ever been diagnosed with a disability, if you had an IEP in school, or you think you would need special accommodations, here is the contact information for our support services office... They want to see you succeed just like I do."
All students deserve the chance to pursue their chosen goals. Sometimes, you may want to help direct students to resources that will help them understand the nature of their future careers to ensure that they feel it is the right choice.
Never tell a student that they cannot pursue a degree or will not succeed. Instead, point out challenges with the job and allow the student to decide what path to take. Tips for working with disabilities students Next to advising, a cornerstone of retention and student success is the early warning system. Northern uses GradesFirst to administer Progress Reports campaigns that will allow prime opportunities for faculty to report an at-risk student. Here are some notes about Early Warning:
The purpose of the alert is not to punish students. In fact, the alert allows the college to provide specific assistance to students when they need it, thus promoting their chances of success and informing them of policies and procedures that could impact them if the behaviors or performance does not improve
Flagged students are directed to advising intervention, tutoring, disabilities services, community resources, and other options, including withdraw, depending on the student's situation and the best solution for a student
Faculty are not required to report a student as at-risk but they are strongly encouraged to submit alerts so that interventions can be used to assist students
Faculty can submit alerts any time in the semester, not just during a Progress Reports campaign
Students are not required to accept assistance from counselors and staff who intervene due to an at-risk notification
At risk notifications are not a permanent part of the student's academic record but the Director of Academic Student Support Services can pull at-risk reports through GradesFirst Early Warning and Progress Reports Christina Sullivan is the Director of Academic Student Support Services. She supervises both the Academic Success Center Staff, including all tutors, and Support Services for Students with Disabilities Staff.

In addition, she coordinates retention activities and interventions, such as Early Warning.

You can direct at-risk students to her or contact her for assistance with at-risk students at csullivan@wvncc.edu or extension 8853 Financial aid is a multi-faceted, sometimes complex set of processes and rules. As a financial resource for students, financial aid does impact much of the students' experiences, including advising. From here, let's break down the basics to help you advise your students. The Basics of Financial Aid All students must complete the following to be considered for aid:
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the school year--this must be renewed yearly
WVNCC Financial Aid Application form available from Student Services or the Financial Aid Office
Charge Authorization, which allows the school to give students book vouchers

Some students may need other paperwork, such as copies of tax transcripts, verification forms, loan applications, and more.

With this component, direct students to Student Services or their Northern on the Web accounts to view the status of their financial aid files. Financial aid students must have all paperwork submitted and be eligible for aid by the last day to pay for early registration or the day they register, if after that date. Paperwork Grants (federal and state): free money unless a student withdraws in a semester, in which case some funding may need repaid

Loans: must be repaid; must maintain half-time or higher enrollment before going into repayment after a grace period; graduation, withdraw, or falling below half-time enrollment will lead to repayment

Scholarships: free money (unless a student withdraws); academic based, leadership based, or other types of criteria (i.e., some scholarships are for students with parents of certain organizations)

Work study: money received for working on campus; limited eligibility based on student need and financing for program provided to the institution Primary Types of Aid The bottom line of this rule is that students need to stay on track in their degrees with a good GPA (2.0 or higher).

Here are the specific guidelines:
2.0 GPA
67% pace rate (students must successfully complete (at minimum) this percent of college courses); failing grades, withdraws, and Incompletes count against pace rate; transitional education classes are not included in this calculation
Maximum timeframe rule: students have 150% of the credit hours required to complete a degree (excluding transitional education hours)
Transitional Education does not impact GPA, pace, or timeframe, but there is a rule that students can attempt transitional ed for up to 30 credit hours. Beyond 30 hours, students lose aid eligibility for these courses. Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress SAP probably has the most to do with advising. Boil this down for students:
Make a plan to graduate in a reasonable timeframe without far exceeding allowed credit hours (CAS majors have 45 hours to complete a program; associate majors have 90 hours to complete a program)
Complete transitional education early to meet prereqs for courses to follow a reasonable timeframe
Be mindful of course performance because poor GPA impacts aid eligibility
Tell the student to only take as many courses as he/she can manage because withdrawing also negatively impacts aid eligibility
Stay on track with a long-term academic plan to reach graduation and the student should not have any problems

Advisors can help students set long-term plans to achieve graduation and intervene when students show at-risk attitudes and behaviors. Financial Aid SAP and Advising So, for example....
Good SAP: student has a 2.0, passes 67% or more of college-level courses, and has not met or exceeded the maximum timeframe
Borderline SAP: student may not be meeting one of the requirements for the first semester and will be on a warning status, having one semester to improve and meet SAP
Probation SAP: student has not meet two or more standards and/or has fallen below standards for at least two semesters. Student must appeal to be considered for aid eligibility
Bad SAP: student has fallen below standards and not shown signs of improvement after appeals. Student could become ineligible for aid We've learned that advising is complex and offers promises of increasing student success and retention. Here are strategies to remember and tools to further help you along. Advising Strategies and Tools Remember the tips from Part 1 that discussed how to build rapport. For example, when first meeting with a student, start the conversation by asking about personal ambitions, home situation, and best memories of school. This will start a relationship that puts the student at ease and that teaches you about the student's motivation, communication competence, plans for education, and roadblocks to reaching goals. Use coaching strategies. Coaching is about helping a student realize goals through guiding, teaching, motivating, and mentoring. You do not tell students what to do--you facilitate a process that helps them answer their own questions.
Start with a needs assessment. What does the student expect from college? From advising? What are the student's goals and how can you help him or her get there?
Set up a "contract". You may want to design an advising syllabus to set expectations, responsibilities of both parties, how you will measure the success of the advising relationship. A sample syllabus is provided at the end of this handbook. Use questioning, effective listening skills like clarifying and reflecting, and feedback. Questions should be clean and open-ended ("How do you plan to achieve that goal?"). With clarifying, you can start a statement with, "What I think I hear you saying is..." and reflecting allows you to mirror back the student's own words. Both strategies show you are listening and helps the student feel like their words are important to you. Feedback is best when it is personal, invited, specific, and focuses on the positive ("I know it was difficult to ask me for help, but by doing so, you have shown courage and motivation.") Start the conversation with a focus on long-term goals, like graduation. "So how can I help you graduate?" sets a different expectation for both of you than, "So what classes are you planning to take this semester?" Ask students to explain things themselves and to reflect back
what you have said. This will show you if the student is meeting the learning objectives you have for the advising experience. Identify learning objectives that you want to accomplish with your advisees and incorporate teaching them into the advising experience. For instance, if you set the objective that the student should be able to explain a prerequisite, teach about the meaning of the word and how to look them up. Then, see if the student can identify prerequisites for specific courses on their own. There are lots of possible strategies to use in advising. Modify your approach based on what the student needs and find the strategy that works best for you and the student.
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