Advising During Orientation and Fall 2021

Below are the key takeaways from the Advising Gatherings held on August 25 and September 1.

In addition, if you are working with incoming students, please make sure to fully read all the detailed information sent in the orientation “folders” email sent by Dana Jansma on August 17.


Advising in Today’s World

What might we expect from an advising standpoint as we return to campus and in-person learning? We don’t know for sure, but we do know the past 18 months have been a stressful time, often anxiety-inducing for many of us. We have all endured collective trauma, and unfortunately it isn’t over yet. Symptoms and effects of this vary in multiple cognitive, emotional, relational, and societal ways – and it can impact, consciously or unconsciously, everything from physical health, energy levels, concentration and ability to focus, relationships, your trusting of other people, outlook for the future, manifestations of grief, and so on.

We know many of our students have struggled with some of the above issues and faced significant hardships during this time, all while navigating a new educational format. It has been a lot for any of us to manage and process, let alone 18-22 year olds. Giving kindness, compassion, and grace to others and ourselves is so very important as we all go through this transition.

In addition to the lasting and cumulative impacts listed above, some other issues to be prepared for could include:

  • Frequent changing and adapting to new circumstances is difficult and tiring work, setting goals can be challenging in light of this, and can come with decision fatigue
  • Simultaneous excitement and fear – perhaps prioritizing or limiting certain experiences due to this
  • The challenges that come with being back to full in-person learning
    • Attendance, participation, and workload expectations
    • Importance of time management and organization, including how much time must be spent outside of class
    • Loss of some flexibility that was provided during virtual learning

What is our role as advisors as we transition back? We will need to put all our good advisor skills to work, as even more so now, advising will not be a one-size fits all model and what one student needs might differ greatly from another student. While we can’t predict the future, in many ways, we just need to continue the essential pieces of advising that we have always done:

  • Help students navigate challenges, make meaningful connections, set goals, encourage self-care and coping strategies
  • Get to know students, pay attention to them, listen carefully, and refer them to resources, remembering that sometimes you might need to refer or encourage them more than once to take advantage of resources

General Reminders/Updates for 2021-22

  • There is a new Biochemistry major
  • There is a new required course for Business majors, BUSN-100 Accounting Basics. It will be offered in fall (currently full) and winter. This is only required for students starting at K in 2021 (and later), or students who opt for the 2021 catalog.
  • The Registrar’s Office has moved from paper to online forms. Please dispose of any old paper forms you still have in your offices and make sure to electronically sign any form requests you receive as soon as possible.
  • Many 101 language courses have seats available – starting language courses/requirement early can have many benefits!
  • Most applied music, ensembles, lessons and PE courses have open seats, as well. This can be a great way for students to meet other students and be active, while earning units toward their degrees.
  • Study abroad applications are open for 22-23. Short-term spring programs no longer have language maximum restrictions.

CCPD Resources

  • Handshake: Handshake is a student’s one-stop-shop for all things career-related! From searching and applying for jobs and internships, to making a virtual or in-person appointment with a Career Coach, this platform is a great first step to figuring out how to connect with the CCPD.
  • VMock: VMock is an AI-powered resume review platform that provides students with real-time feedback on their resume. This is a great tool for those who are new to resume-writing process, or for those who are looking to enhance their current document.
  • The Career Studio – new this year!
    • A dynamic drop-in space where all K students can stop by without an appointment with “Life After K” questions
    • Open M-F from 10 am – 2 pm for unlimited visits during Fall Weeks 2-10; ground floor of Dewing
    • Student Career Ambassadors can answer questions about resumes, cover letters, job and internship searches, and more!

Pre-Health Students

  • Careers in Health website has lots of great information any students interested in health careers should check out.
  • Encourage your advisees to join the Careers in Health and Medicine Teams site to keep up-to-date on workshop offerings and other key information.
  • Wraegen Williams, Director of Careers in Health, will be offering workshops this fall on “Health and Medicine 101” (primarily for first years and sophomores) and “Investment Check-in” (for students who attended “Becoming a Competitive Applicant” in spring).
  • New this year, HSAC (Health Sciences Advisory Committee) will begin their processes in fall. Any students planning to apply for a professional program entering in 2023 need to make sure they are connected with the Careers in Health office about required HSAC deadlines and workshops.

Advising During Orientation

The two main goals of advising during orientation are:

  • beginning the advisor-advisee relationship by starting to get to know students
  • discussing their fall schedule, making sure students feel comfortable with their registration choices

Scheduling Logistics (NEW THIS YEAR!)

After a successful pilot last year, advising will not be tied to the First-Year Seminars again this year, except for FYSem instructors. That means (if you are not a seminar instructor) you will have advisees that are in multiple different seminars. Therefore, you need to be in touch with your new advisees directly – before orientation begins – to schedule their appointment with you.

There are advising times on the orientation schedule on Thursday and Friday, but some of these do overlap with other activities, including a time when students could potentially still be moving in. Therefore, we are excited to offer the opportunity to try something new this year. IF you are interested, you can start reaching out to your new advisees now to meet with them virtually on Teams before they arrive on campus (or in-person for students who are on-campus early, like fall athletes) instead of waiting until orientation. Do keep in mind, even if you want to meet students early, they might not respond or be available, and you would still need to meet with those students during orientation.

Why are we offering the opportunity to meet before orientation?

  • Schedule constraints – for a variety of reasons, the orientation schedule is even more condensed this year than in previous years
  • Allowing students to connect with someone at K earlier, particularly at a time when most friends are leaving, have already left for school, or have started classes
  • Students are already using Teams for pre-orientation activities, meeting with their Peer Leaders and watching video content (instead of having so many required sessions during orientation)
  • Takes something off students’ plates during orientation (and yours). Orientation can be overwhelming and conversations pre-orientation are likely to not be so rushed.
  • Drop/add has been open since early August, so checking in with you about their schedule earlier than during orientation can be helpful

To be clear, it is your choice to meet early or continue to meet during orientation as in years past.

Finding Your Advisee List

Your complete list of advisees can be found in Hornet HQ. If you are having trouble identifying which are the first years, try looking for students with a “Last advising date” between mid to late July or “NA” and a program of “Undeclared” (remember: many sophomores will also show as Undeclared right now).

Orientation “Folders” and Programming

Orientation folders were sent via email by Dana Jansma on August 17. There will be no hard copy folder delivery this year. Many more details about advising, including science sequence information, were included there. Please make sure to read through everything that was sent.

The orientation schedule tells students they are required to have an advising appointment during orientation. If you have met with them virtually beforehand, that meeting would count as their required appointment and they do not need to meet with you again during orientation.

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of orientation, there are opportunities for students to build their own schedule and attend sessions to learn about academic departments, student support, student organizations, study abroad, and more. It is really important that we are encouraging our advisees to get involved, build community, and start making connections with other students and faculty by attending these sessions.

General Reminders

  • First-Year Seminar registrations are final. Students will not be allowed to switch Seminars.
  • Students should be registered for a First-Year Seminar and 2 other 1.0 or 1.2 unit courses. They can add partial-unit courses like PE or music ensembles in addition to their 3 other courses. If they are not fully registered, they should complete registration as soon as possible.
  • If students have yet to take required placement exams, they need to do so right away.
    • Students are required to take the language placement exam for any languages offered at K that they have previously studied, even if they don’t intend to study the language at K.
    • Students interested in economics/business need to complete the math placement exam.
    • Other students may need to take math and/or chemistry placement exams based on their interests/intended majors.
    • NOTE: Any placement exam questions should be directed to the relevant departments (Magnolia Little – Languages, Kristen Eldred – Math, Jeff Bartz – Chemistry)
  • Make sure to read the applications of your incoming advisees; a lot of good information can be found there! Look for the “Admission Documentation” link under their picture within the student-specific screens in Hornet HQ.
  • If one of your new advisees does not make any contact with you by Friday (9/10) morning, please let Lesley Clinard and/or Nicole Kragt (Registrar) know, so that this information may be tracked and we can follow-up as necessary.
  • Don’t forget to submit Advisement Complete in Student Planning after meeting with your advisees, whether pre-orientation or during orientation.

Thank you for all you do for our students! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Lesley Clinard via email or Teams with any questions. And don’t forget, the Registrar’s Office is also available to answer any course registration, requirement, or policy questions.