Advising Tips & Tricks

CHSS Student Resource Center Director David Woo offers advising information and resources for faculty. Faculty may send advising-related questions, resources or topics they would like to see addressed to

Republished from the College newsletter, CHSS Connection.

April 2019

Preparing for peak advising

Spring is here and class schedules should be out shortly, so we’ll start seeing more students in our offices soon. Peak advising period usually brings us worried students trying to plan out their upcoming semester’s schedule, which can then create stress for faculty who are supporting them, not only in the classroom but in an advising capacity. Long lines of frazzled students outside office doors are a common sight during these times.

How can you prepare? One way is to familiarize yourself with the questions students frequently ask. While most faculty advisors are experts in their major, many might have problems with GE, adding classes, reading DPRs, etc. We’ve organized some helpful links you can visit to familiarize yourself with some of these topics. Seeing students earlier is another way to reduce lines and wait times during this period.

As always, if you have advising related questions that you would like answered in this newsletter, please email me at

March 2019

Academic probation

March is usually an exciting time for students as they typically have a chance to relax a bit during Spring Break. However, we often see a group of students in the SRC who are not as happy. They are probation students, and many will come in for advising upset or depressed, or feel so ashamed they may not make it in at all.

Most of you know I am a product of CHSS, having earned my master’s in counseling and public administration here. However, I started at City College of San Francisco, and in my first semester, I ended up on academic probation. It was humbling, but the experience helped define the work I do today. Like many probation students, I felt the shame and confusion of being academically deficient. It was difficult to ask for help, and even worse, be ridiculed when I needed understanding and a roadmap out of my academic hole.

In the coming weeks, faculty advisors, chairs and SRC counselors will be meeting with probation students who may share similar feelings. Probation students are probably the most at-risk group we have, as many often don’t retain. Usually their problem isn’t as simple as a deficient GPA. Many of us are very busy with other commitments, so it is often easier to tell students study harder or refer to tutoring, but take a few moments to empathically understand their situation and why they are on probation. Do validate their fears and reassure their anxiety when offering your suggestions. It will go a long way in helping probation students feel better while ensuring your recommendations are tailored to their situation.

You’ll find some helpful resources related to academic probation in the Faculty section of the CHSS website.

If you have advising-related questions that you would like to share in this space, please email me at, and I’ll be sure to address them.

January/February 2019

Welcome to "Advising Tips & Tricks"

I’m often asked what makes for a good advisor. Talk to one group of advisors and they’ll say building trusting relationships. Other folks might indicate good listening skills. However, the one commonality I’ve found students wanting in their advisors is to provide them with updated, accurate information or the means to attain it. I’ve worked in a number of advising units at this campus and I can honestly say it’s not easy to stay updated on university policies or requirements. The last four to five years alone have seen a significant change in campus graduation requirements and the technology used to access student records to help students. How does a faculty advisor stay current in such a constantly evolving landscape so he/she/they can provide updated and accurate information to their students?

In the coming months, this space will contain advising tips, updates on University requirements/policies, listings or links to advising resources as well answers to questions you may have. I’m looking forward to connecting with many of you soon!

In the meantime, if you have advising-related questions or resources you would like to share in the newsletter, please email them to me at and I’ll make sure to address them.