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Northwest Missouri State University

Syllabus for Academic Advising

The syllabus for advising services is a template for student success in a collaborative effort with one or more professionals on our campus. Effective advising should assist the student in achieving their academic, professional and personal goals. Faculty advisors will strive to provide accurate and timely information, creating a framework which aids students in their academic program.


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Goals of the Academic Advising Program

  • To assist students to clarify educational, professional, and life goals and learn decision-making skills
  • To assist students with academic program planning, course selection, and registration
  • To review and monitor student academic progress.
  • To help students to understand academic policies, procedures, and requirements.
  • To inform students of campus resources, support services, and educational opportunities.
  • To promote student self-reliance.
  • To understand, respect, and respond to individual student advising needs.
  • To help students understand the College’s educational mission.
  • To collect and distribute relevant data about student needs and performance for use in institutional decision-making.

Advisee Roles and Responsibilities

  • Know and complete the requirements for your degree program and the Northwest Core
  • Understand and follow academic policies and procedures as published in the Northwest Missouri State University Undergraduate Catalog
  • Get to know your advisor. Schedule regular appointments with your advisor as needed; you are required to meet with your advisor at least once each semester to plan your academic program and select courses
  • Plan ahead and bring questions and relevant materials with you; be prepared for appointments with your advisor
  • Prepare a tentative course schedule prior to meeting with your advisor for course selection appointments
  • Know how to utilize current technology to access academic information such as Catpaws, Degree Works, and the online catalog
  • Be familiar with campus services and resources and use them as needed, especially if recommended by your advisor
  • Reflect upon your interests, abilities and educational, professional and life goals and discuss with your advisor
  • Monitor your academic progress
  • Contact your advisor if you have academic concerns or difficulties
  • Retain important documentation related to your academics
  • Check your Northwest e-mail regularly and create a schedule for success in outlook

Advisor Roles and Responsibilities

  • Get to know advisees; contact new advisees early in the semester
  • Post and keep office hours and inform advisees of the best way to be contacted
  • Know and understand the Northwest Core, academic program and professional requirements, as well as college policies and procedures; help advisees to understand all of these elements
  • Assist advisees in reflecting upon their interests and abilities and clarifying educational, professional and life goals through active listening
  • Monitor advisees’ academic progress and assist them in planning their programs to achieve their academic, professional and life goals
  • Inform advisees of appropriate campus resources, support services and educational opportunities
  • Encourage advisees to meet with the advisor before problems arise
  • Learn advising procedures, tools and technology by reviewing advising materials online and/or attending advisor training opportunities
  • Maintain advisement files
  • Support advisees’ applications for educational opportunities when appropriate
  • Sign college forms as necessary

Expected Student Learning Outcomes for Academic Advising

Through the academic advising experience, students will:

  • Make appropriate educational decisions and set realistic goals based on individual interests, skills, abilities, and values
  • Develop a meaningful educational plan based on goals
  • Monitor academic progress towards goals
  • Demonstrate an understanding of core, major, minor/specialization, certification and degree requirements
  • Identify and utilize campus resources, support services and educational opportunities, as appropriate
  • Become self-reliant regarding academic and wellness matters
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the philosophy behind the college’s core general education requirements and their relationship with professional programs

First Semester Freshman Advising

Advising a First Semester Freshman


As an advisor of a first-time freshman you have a great responsibility to guide and aid a young mind. Your guidance and knowledge are invaluable to a freshman and advisement is a great way to start a friendship and collaboration for student success. 

1st Session

To begin this relationship at the onset of a term, we suggest a preliminary meeting- just 15 to 30 minutes where you can meet and introduce yourself. You can also explain your advisor role in their pursuits, clarify the students’ responsibilities for their education, explore personal information about their interests and experiences to guide future goals, and introduce them to some tools that may help them be successful.  Advantage week is the best time for this initial meeting as you may want to adjust the students’ schedule once you have had thoughtful discussion on the matter.

2nd Session

A second meeting prior to the last day to add/drop a class is invaluable to aid students in need of assistance.  This is a time to introduce the student to a few planning responsibilities (create a 4-year plan and a study regimen) and activities that will assist their goals.  Some tools that were introduced during University Seminar such as the undergraduate academic catalog, Degree Works degree audit, 4-year plans, interest cards, and various offices, may be further explored depending on how the student is progressing. This is the most advantageous time to do an “academic wellness check.”  If they are struggling in particular classes, with roommates or scheduling time to study and work, this is the time to address a course of action.  Be sure to note your agreed plans in the notes of Degree Works- just the facts of what was suggested, please do not include opinions.

This is also a great time in the semester to ask if they have made connections to the greater university community- have they joined a club, attended a speaker or concert, been involved with any departmental or college sponsored activities, or signed up for intramural athletics?  All of these activities can be helpful in getting students involved and acclimated to college life.

3rd Session

The last planned session should be a week to two before the students’ registration period for the next term.  You can examine the students’ individualized four year plan, show them how to register via CatPaws and answer any questions.  Ask the student about any experiential opportunities they have taken advantage of in their first term.   

What are their academic and co-curricular plans for the next term?  Have they thought of taking summer courses or what career opportunities await their future?

These activities are essential to the success of your advisee and building a comprehensive plan for success. Please let us know if you need additional assistance in the process.

-Advisement and Orientation Office X1695

ACT Interest Areas and Northwest Majors Chart

All advisors at Northwest Missouri State University have access to students ACT scores and the interest inventory areas from ACT. The scores when combined with our World of Work map View PDF, can be a helpful resource for deciding students or those wanting to change majors or add a minor. Advisors will find these in CatPaws under each advisees test score tab.

Before Your Advising Appointment

  • Review your degree audit
  • Verify that your information is correct and attend to any inaccuracies
  • Update your personal education plan (4-year plan) or graduation plan
  • List questions and concerns for your advising session

Campus Resources

Advisement Assistance Office
237 Administration Building
Phone: 660.562.1695

Career Services
130 Administration Building
Phone: 660.562.1250

Office of Scholarships and Financial Assistance
273 Administration Building
Phone: 660.562.1363

Talent Development Center
232 Owens Library
Phone: 660.562.1726

Assessment Office
1930 Garrett-Strong
Phone: 660.562.1452