With students knee-deep in midterm exams and spring enrollment right around the corner, PFA Intern Sadie Polson took time to meet with Ashley Thomas, an academic advisor in her 6th year at K-State. Thomas is a 2003 graduate of K-State’s College of Agriculture and is working on a doctorate in Counseling and Student Development through the K-State College of Education.
PFA Intern: Ashley, I know this time of year is incredibly hectic for you as students begin preparing for spring enrollment, so thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for our parents and families.
Ashley: No problem, Sadie! Thank you for asking me.
PFA Intern: Of course. Let’s get to it. Ashley, what are three words you would use to describe the academic advisor role?
Ashley: Academic advisors provide guidance. The term “advisor” is misleading sometimes, because we rarely give advice, but instead provide guidance to help our students make informed decisions. In my role, I should have knowledge of policies, procedures, and information at a high level, so that I can assist my students in making the best decisions for their goals and needs. Every student’s situation is different, so rarely do I give advice.
Secondly, support – we refer many students to other resources on campus or in the community. It’s my job to know what resources are available to my students to help with various situations, whether that’s personal, academic, career, etc.
Lastly, I think it’s very important for advisors to actively listen to their students – not to reply, but to understand. People in general like to listen to reply. Academic advising is sitting back and actively listening to our students so that we may understand how to accommodate to their individual needs and help them to be successful.