Advisor Resources

Guidelines for Effective Advising

General Functions

  • A group advisor must express sincere enthusiasm and interest in the group and its activities.
  • At times it is wise to allow the group to be on its own. You can demonstrate your trust in them by stepping back for a short time; however, do not pull back too far because they may feel you have lost interest. If you never step back, they may feel you are the “parent.”
  • Act as a positive critic to the group. Give them feedback on how they are doing.
  • Serve as a resource for alternative ideas or solutions.
  • Be aware of any and all procedures and regulations affecting the group. Assist them in adhering to them.
  • Try to encourage the assignment of tasks to all members.
  • Advise and evaluate the officers on performance of their duties.


  • It is important for group members to know each other well enough to be able to share thoughts freely and join in the group.
  • Get to know members and help them identify the contributions they can make to the group.
  • Work with group leaders to develop and implement procedures for building group feeling and purpose.

Goal Setting

  • Early in the year, raise questions about the group goals. What is their purpose? What do they want to accomplish? Try the consensus method for group goal formation.
  • Keep a record of goals and encourage the group to periodically evaluate it’s progress in relation to those goals.


  • Meet with the officers at least one [week] prior to the meeting to develop an agenda. Help the officers consider what has to be done and what should be done in light of their goals.
  • Following the meeting, discuss with the officers any problems encountered during the meeting, and offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Attend as many meetings as possible.

Source: Organizational Advising Handbook, Western Illinois University

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