Academic Advising Syllabus

St. Olaf College
Academic Advising Syllabus

Vision of Academic Advising from National Academic Advising Association (NACADA)

Academic Advising is an educational process that, by intention and design, facilitates students’ understanding of the meaning and purpose of higher education and fosters their intellectual and personal development toward academic success and lifelong learning. (NACADA, 2004)

Academic Advising at St. Olaf College

Academic advising at St. Olaf College encourages the integration of the mind, body, and spirit as students learn to create academic, career, and lifelong goals.  Students discover how to direct their intellectual curiosities, to overcome personal or academic barriers to learning, and to attain their goals.  Central to this educational process is the collaboration between students and their academic advisors.


Through academic advising, students at St. Olaf College will:

  1. examine the purpose of higher education at a Liberal Arts institution;
  2. examine goals and objectives of the St. Olaf College Mission Statement;
  3. develop an understanding of the goals and purpose of the St. Olaf General Education curriculum;
  4. learn to utilize resources on the St. Olaf campus;
  5. learn to develop an academic plan each semester;
  6. learn to prioritize competing responsibilities (academic, co-curricular, and personal);
  7. assess interests and talents and develop academic, personal, and career goals;
  8. integrate knowledge and skills acquired before and during study at St. Olaf College; and
  9. develop a desire for life-long learning.
Students’ Roles and Responsibilities – What Your Advisor Can Expect

The responsibility for understanding and meeting degree requirements rests entirely with the student.

In order to take full advantage of the wide range of academic opportunities at St. Olaf College, students are expected to:

  1. express their academic interests and aspirations to their advisor;
  2. respond promptly to messages from their advisor;
  3. prepare carefully for meetings with their advisor;
  4. develop a 4-year academic plan that assists in pursuing a broad range of academic interests, in graduating in a timely manner, and in facilitating desire of life-long learning;
  5. learn how to read a degree audit;
  6. explore the breadth of the General Education curriculum, in order to understand the significance of each of the requirements;
  7. pursue a profound course of study within a major field chosen from those offered at St. Olaf or independently developed with the assistance and approval of the Center for Integrative Studies.  A major MUST be declared by March 15 of the sophomore year using the Request to Add or Drop a Major, Concentration or Emphasis form found in the SIS; however, students are strongly encouraged to declare a major as soon as possible.  In addition to a major, students may choose to declare an area of emphasis or a concentration;
  8. consider how to incorporate off-campus study and experiential learning (e.g. scholarship and creative activity including research, internships, co-curricular and volunteer activities, civic engagement), into your long range plan; and
  9. become aware of the large number of services available on campus.
Academic Advisors’ Roles and Responsibilities – What Your Advisees Can Expect

The advice of advisors does not constitute a promise or a contract ensuring a student’s graduation on schedule, or the completion of specific requirements

Advisors support the student in fulfilling their responsibilities. Advisors are expected to:

  1. maintain confidentiality;
  2. be accessible;
  3. help advisees prepare for registration;
  4. encourage advisees to explore available resources to help make decisions regarding academic, career and lifelong goals:
  5. assist advisees in choosing courses that lead to a suitable major;
  6. introduce opportunities to engage in off-campus study  and experiential learning (e.g. scholarship and creative activity including research, internships, co-curricular and volunteer activities, civic engagement), and assist advisees to incorporate them into their academic plan;
  7. help students to achieve a comprehensive set of college-side learning goals (STOGoals);
  8. assist students to understand policies and requirements when questions arise;
  9. assist advisees in immediate problem-solving by providing advice;
  10. when appropriate, refer advisees to relevant office or resource person;
  11. assist advisees in understanding the purpose and goals of higher education in general, and the St. Olaf General Education curriculum in particular; and
  12. encourage advisees to change advisors if they declare a major in an area outside their advisor’s realm of expertise.

NACADA. (2004). NACADA statement of core values of academic advising. Retrieved February 13, 2007 from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: