What Qualities Should an Academic Advisor Have?

Carolina Jacobs

Feb 10, 2023

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In college, your academic advisor plays a critical role in your success as a student. They help you with everything from which classes to take to which career paths you should pursue. Advisors are responsible for assisting in your personal, academic, and professional development. 

Therefore, academic advisors should have certain qualities about themselves that help them in their professional careers. What qualities should an academic advisor have?

The Role of an Academic Advisor

Academic advisors need to know their role in and out before starting the job. The role of an academic advisor varies depending on which institution they work for, but most advisors have similar responsibilities. 

For example, advisors help students with their academic-related issues, questions and concerns. If students struggle with a class, they can speak to their advisor and figure out a solution, whether studying more frequently or signing up for tutoring sessions.

Advisors can help students explore their academic interests, determine the best career path and identify additional resources to help them with their educational needs. Some other duties include telling students about studying abroad, changing majors, getting involved in student clubs or organizations and managing time and mental health issues in college.

What Qualities Should an Academic Advisor Have?

There are several characteristics advisors should have to ensure they’re meeting their students’ expectations. Below are some key qualities and why they play an important role in an academic advisor’s role. 


All advisors should have great interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively. Messages can get lost in translation without proper communication, leaving students confused and with more questions. Advisors must be communicative to ensure they’re on the same page as their students. 


No student wants to have an academic advisor who has an overall negative attitude. It can make students feel uncomfortable and might even impact their academic performance. Rather, advisors should be positive and helpful as much as possible. Advisors are there to help students succeed in all aspects of their college careers, so positivity is a key quality they should have.


Another quality academic advisors and students benefit from is the ability to encourage their students. Students, especially first-year students, are more likely to struggle during college. Transitioning from high school to college is huge and comes with its fair share of challenges. Therefore, advisors should always be interested in encouraging students to pursue their interests, such as joining sports teams or clubs, taking a challenging course or making new friends.


Self-awareness is a great quality for anyone and academic advisors are no exception. There are many benefits to being self-aware in the education sector. Students will feel more comfortable approaching a self-aware advisor than one who lacks any sense of self. Self-awareness also helps advisors develop their emotional intelligence, a transferable skill.


Compassion is an integral aspect of being in the education system. Many advisors double as professors, so they must exercise compassion whenever possible. Being a college student is tough and students need all the help they can get! Compassion is a key ingredient academic advisors should have to help their students in the best way possible.


Lastly, advisors should be well-versed in the college or university’s policies, procedures and rules. Without this critical knowledge, students might feel lost or confused about what they must do to succeed. Advisors should be knowledgeable about all academic topics to best serve their students.

Finding the Best Academic Advisor

The list of qualities above shines a spotlight on what academic advisors should strive for in their roles. It can be challenging to show up to work daily with a smile, but it’s crucial in helping students achieve their best. 

Likewise, students must have a positive, collaborative relationship with their advisors. Academic advisors will continue playing a significant role in their student’s college experience, but only if they have these critical characteristics.

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