There are a few of us on campus who are in advising roles but also serve as our academic unit’s recruitment contact. You’ll see us running back and forth between our advising appointments and the SAS building for Admissions Update meetings or loading into 12 passenger vans with bags of swag and (for some of us) high heeled shoes that we rarely wear in our offices but bought because they look super cute with our scarlet and grey spirit gear that we don for the admitted student dessert receptions in Chicago, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Kia McKinnie always provides some outtakes during the down time at these events.
Most advisors, even if not officially recruiters for Ohio State or our Academic Units, also have the pleasure of appointments with prospective students and their families as they weigh their option to come to Ohio State vs. our in state and out of state competitors. We answer questions about our programs, the different types of classes that a student might take and talk lots about the various curricular opportunities the student will have the privilege of experiencing in our majors. We discuss the outcomes that our majors can provide in terms of graduate or professional school preparation and job marketability and we know our rankings inside and out. We act as the navigator or connection between the strength of the academic programs and the opportunities at Ohio State and the hopes and dreams of those prospectives and their families. We help make the jumble of acronyms, the size of the institution and the ‘bigness’ of our degrees suddenly seem understandable, doable and even something to really be excited about starting. This contact with our advising staff is often, I think, a key piece in getting the student to hit submit on that application. Advisors are an important role in the recruitment process.
We don’t often talk about that though, do we? In that 30-60 minute prospective student appointment we’re spending the whole time answering questions about our programs and talking about how awesome the opportunities at Ohio State are for each individual student that enrolls but we rarely talk about our role in helping the student actually put it all together. We are a humble bunch right? But we should talk about what we do and about what our role is. We should help the student understand that we are the constant that they’ll have throughout their four years here. No matter what population they fall into they will have an assigned academic advisor who is their link to the University. We should explain that we are the only staff that has direct responsibility for their academic life at the University. We should help them understand that we are not just course planners and schedulers or button pushers but that we are Outcomes Managers. We are directly invested, wholeheartedly, in their academic success from the point that they push the apply button to when they toss their graduation cap into the air (that’s still allowed right?) Isn’t that a selling point for Ohio State? That we have this team of dedicated professionals who chose a career in helping students find success no matter how bumpy the road? That we help create the web that helps prevent individual students from academically slipping through the cracks at a large institution?
I think it’s really starting to be. Those few of us who have the dual roles have gotten to participate in more recruitment events specifically speaking about our roles in student success. Chris Adams, Jen Belisle, Dan DeMay, Whitney Weber and I did a break out session on “Who Is Your Advisor and What Do They Do” (Kindergarten Cop voice) at the last two Academic Open House visit days and were later asked to repeat the presentation for members of the University Communication Team. Most recently, Chris and I got to participate in one of Undergraduate Admissions’ “TwitterChats” Tweetchat? I am unsure of the verb tense appropriate for Twittering.
Undergraduate Admissions advertised:
A Live Twitter Chat with #OhioState Academic Advisors answering questions about what they do to help students navigate the Ohio State curriculum and become successful alumni.
And then on November 13th Chris and I spent a couple of hours trying to capture Advising’s Awesomeness and put it into 140 characters per tweet. It was a great opportunity to talk about who advisors are and how we help students at Ohio State. It was also stressful! Technology is not my friend but we survived with only slightly cramped thumbs from the tweeting. You can read the transcript of the twitter chat at https://storify.com/futurebuckeyes/ohiostatechat if you would like. My favorite part of the experience was getting to answer question 11. They sent us the questions in advance so we would have time to think a bit about our answers and how to encapsulate them in 140 characters and I realized there was no way that I could do justice to “What Does a Degree Mean” from the perspective of all advisors on campus so we made a video instead and used it as a way to introduce some of our outstanding advisors. Make sure you check it out at go.osu.edu/WhatAnOSUDegreeMeans
I encourage you, the next time you have the opportunity with a prospective student and their family to take a minute to talk about what we do and what our part in the student’s life is. Advising is important. Advisors are important.
A special thanks to Sarah Howard at the Newark Campus for the twitter advice! If you are looking into harnessing the power of Twitter in your advising role, she’s a great resource!!