Academic Advising Portal

Writing your Advising Philosophy

What is an advising philosophy?

An advising philosophy is a statement that guides your decisions, determines goals and objectives, and forms a foundation for advisement strategy and delivery (Dyer, 2007). This might include the typical structure of your advising sessions, student development theories that you consider, or professional values.  An advising philosophy is coherent, consistent, but never static (Dyer, 2007). This might mean that you revisit your advising philosophy regularly—perhaps it is a collection of sticky notes or a frequently used file on your computer. 

What is the purpose of writing an advising philosophy?

Your advising philosophy can help to give clarity, structure, and focus to your advising sessions. You may find that articulating your advising approach aids you in advising conversations (Dyer, 2007). It may serve as a checklist of sorts—a list of goals you help each student reach. It may also help you to explain your role as an advisor to colleagues or advisees, what you expect from your advisees, and what they should expect from you.

Writing an advising philosophy

Nearly every advisor approaches an advising conversation with some kind of organization to the meeting or goals they want to accomplish. Perhaps you start an interaction by asking students how their classes are going. Or, you carefully tick off each of a student’s courses so that you know they are not neglecting to mention one. Maybe you regularly print off a copy of your department’s curriculum and go through it with a highlighter, showing students which courses are still on the docket. Every advisor already operates under an informal personal philosophy of academic advising (Freitag, 2011).

Writing an advising philosophy means writing down your internal map. Awareness of your personal philosophy can improve relationships with students, and the outcome of advising interactions. It requires thought, introspection, study, and clearly communicated personal objectives (Freitag, 2011). There are a number of questions you might ask yourself when articulating your advising philosophy, some of which can be seen below. You may consider adding key words such as professional advising competencies, including the NACADA Core Values, Core Competencies, or Concept of Advising. Or, they might align with an institutional mission, vision, and goals.

Advising Philosophy Prompts

Text version

Check out some example advising philosophies from faculty & staff here at UNI

PDF Slides from Spring 2018 Academic Advising Workshop



Dyer, N. A. (2007). Voices from the Field: Advisement Philosophy. Retrieved from

Folsom, P., Yoder, F., & Joslin, J. E. (2015). The new advisor guidebook: Mastering the art of academic advising. Retrieved from

Freitag, D. (2011). Creating a personal philosophy of academic advising. Retrieved from

University of California, Berkeley. (n.d.). Statement of advising philosophy prompts. Retrieved from