Lake Superior State University


Welcome to the world of academic advising! As an advisor, you provide an invaluable service to students as they begin their educational careers at Lake Superior State University.

This handbook is meant to be a guide to the advising program at LSSU and a toolkit for new and veteran academic advisors. Its structure moves you from an overview of advising at LSSU to advising for specific purposes, including educational and career planning, student development, and advising specific populations. The appendices are a collection of helpful tools to assist you in the advising process.

Please keep in mind that this is a living document and we welcome your suggestions and input. Please email your comments to

LSSU's Philosophy of Academic Advising

An advisor's responsibility is to serve as a personal resource for individual students as they pursue the goal of succeeding in college. A good advisor--especially during times of crisis and at turning points--can be the difference between student failure and student success, both in college and in life. The Golden Rule of advising is to help each advisee the way you would like to be helped if you were that student.

Goals of Academic Advising

Academic advising helps students:

  • identify and clarify academic, career, and life goals;
  • assess the role that higher education can play in achieving these goals;
  • develop educational plans consistent with these goals and their interests and abilities;
  • select appropriate courses and other educational experiences;
  • evaluate their progress toward earning a degree and reaching their goals;
  • adapt to the demands of college life and become active members of the university community;
  • identify and utilize university and community support services;
  • interpret institutional rules, policies, and procedures; and
  • develop the skills necessary for independent decision-making.


Roles & Responsibilities of the Academic advisor

An academic advisor should:

  • help the advisee understand the academic and administrative processes of the university;
  • help the advisee understand the requirements, standards of achievement, and likelihood of success in the academic programs in which he or she advises students;
  • develop an understanding of each advisee's individual needs and concerns as they affect academic progress;
  • help the advisee assess educational and career objectives in light of his or her abilities and interests;
  • help the advisee understand the relationships among courses, programs, research projects, internships, study abroad programs, and other academic experiences provided by the university;
  • help the advisee plan a course of study, offering advice about courses, course loads, and prerequisites;
  • refer advisees to others, when necessary, who can help them with academic, attitudinal, or personal problems;
  • monitor student progress toward educational and career goals, maintaining accurate and complete records;
  • be honest and ethical in interactions with the advisee;
  • maintain confidentiality regarding student conferences and records;
  • help the advisee understand the relationships between the instructional program and his or her occupational and career goals;
  • develop a caring, mentoring relationship with students; and
  • participate in advisor training sessions provided by the university, college, or department.

Adapted from the Pennsylvania State University Center for Excellence in Academic Advising.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Student

The student should:

  • explain to the advisor his or her personal values, abilities, interests, and goals;
  • maintain frequent contact with his or her advisor in order to keep abreast of current academic information;
  • be prepared with accurate information and relevant materials when contacting and meeting with the advisor;
  • be honest and ethical in interactions with the advisor;
  • become knowledgeable about and adhere to the relevant policies, procedures, and rules of the university, college, and academic program;
  • seek relevant information about career options and how they are related to the educational program;
  • follow through on action plans identified during each advising session;
  • acquire the information needed to assume final responsibility for course scheduling, program planning, and the successful completion of all graduation requirements;
  • consult with his or her advisor at least once a semester to decide on courses, review progress toward degree requirements, and if necessary, discuss the suitability of other educational opportunities provided by the university.

The goals of academic advising and the roles and responsibilities of both the academic advisor and student are included in the Laker Guide - a handbook distributed to new students and parents during orientation.