Infographic: Advising in Times of Uncertainty

Last updated on: January 12, 2022

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Now more than ever, having human-to-human interaction matters. While faculty are unable to connect with students in traditional ways, there is plenty they can do to provide virtual support. Here, we outline four steps to help your students through these difficult times.

Click the image below to view the full infographic.

Advising in Times of Uncertainty infographic

Step 1: Connect

• Send a message to check in
• Listen to the students concerns
• Ask follow-up questions
• Paraphrase and check for understanding

These gestures may seem simple, but you shouldn’t underestimate the impact they will have. Just reaching out to a student shows them they have someone to talk to. By asking follow-up questions and paraphrasing, students know that you are actively listening, and it makes them feel heard.

Step 2: Create

• Focus on what is in the student’s control
• Emphasize the strengths the student possesses
• Ask about the student’s ideal outcome and what they would like to see happen next

When times are uncertain, it can feel like everything is out of our control. Faculty should talk to students about their futures and remind them to focus on their individual goals. By setting up a plan, students can feel that their success is in their control.

Step 3: Challenge

Examine the Truth:
Students should ask themselves:
“Is there evidence to support this is as bad as it seems?”
“What are the facts?

Examine the Helpfulness:
Students should ask themselves:
“Is it helpful for me to focus on this right now?”

Examine an Alternative:
Students should ask themselves:
“Is there another way I can view this situation that is more accurate and more helpful?”

It’s important to encourage students to examine the truth. Especially during times of uncertainty, false information is everywhere. Faculty should guide students toward the facts and provide accurate sources and information. Challenge your students to think differently.

Step 4: Collaborate & Commit

• Co-design a plan
• Document clear next steps with timestamps for both you and your students
• Make a verbal or written commitment to take the next steps.
• Encourage the student to do the same

Develop a plan that works best for you and your students. Make sure the steps have time stamps so your students know that not only do they need to make this deadline, but you do as well. 

We recommend writing these steps down. When you write things down, it has a different level of commitment than when you say something. Suggest that students email you their plans so they are held accountable.

By following these steps, you will show your students they have your full support and you are willing to work with them to find solutions in the areas they are struggling. We utilize data-driven tools to anticipate student challenges and deploy hands-on support to foster success, helping students stay on track through graduation. For more helpful information on student retention support, check out our Resources. 

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