Academic advising is an essential part of a student’s academic journey but has been increasingly important in these past 6 months in keeping students retained, engaged, and providing a fulfilling collegiate experience. Prior to COVID-19, many institutions primarily did advising appointments in person as many processes were done manually on static PDFs, excel spreadsheets, or scratch paper.
When presented with no other option but to transition online, advisors saw the opportunity to leverage technology to streamline and scale advising efforts. Although nobody can predict the future of higher education or academic advising, experts believe these reasons will result in the shift to virtual advising for the long run. Here’s why:
1. Appointments are more accessible
Students are able to fit online appointments more easily within their busy schedules whether it be quickly in between classes or during a lunch break at work. Additionally, virtual appointments eliminate transportation barriers, resulting in more students showing up and on time for their appointments.
2. More efficient conversations
Investing in technology that eliminates tedious, manual advising tasks allows advisors to spend more time having meaningful conversations with their students, which is crucial to institutional success. For example, with online degree planners, students have the resources and agency to plan their own academic journey. That way, advisors can spend less time on building schedules and tracking course requirements and spend more time helping students explore things like post-graduate plans and career aspirations; conversations that technology cannot as easily replace.
3. Improve the student experience
The newer generation of students are used to having information readily available, intuitive instructions, and visually appealing - like Instagram, Google Maps, SnapChat, etc. When students are able to collaborate with their advisor over a modern degree planning platform, students are more likely to engage and take the time to plan their academic journey. For example, Stellic’s partner, Carnegie Mellon University has a student adoption rate of 90%, meaning they are heavily engaged in their degree planning and progress tracking.
When institutions resume in person instruction, it is likely that the future of advising will continue to incorporate virtual and remote elements. With so many students and advisors quickly adapting and thriving in this new environment, it is easy to see that technology can help breakdown barriers and help advisors do what they do best.