If you assume additional responsibilities as a student advisor, you may experience a problem of chronic lack of time. Student advisors are often assigned dozens, if not hundreds, of students to consult, and you can end up having zero time for yourself and your studies. So, a vital consideration for you as an advisor is organization and proper planning. Without a handy list of helpful resources and a database with questions and answers, you will be unable to serve the needs of your supervises effectively.We have compiled a list of essential tips to make your Time Management efforts effective and not draining.Here are tips for Student Advisors.
Create a Resource Database
It’s logical for newcomers to have the same questions year by year. So, instead of spending your time and energy answering each question a hundred times and losing patience with some freshmen, you can set up a helpful resource database. Include the contacts and names of the most commonly inquired professors, help centers, departments, libraries, etc., to find the responses in seconds. In this way, you can optimize the time spent on each student inquiry, not needing to check out the same information in external sources repeatedly.
A Wiki with Helpful Resources Is Essential
One way to minimize the number of inquiries for manual processing manifold is to create a publicly available spreadsheet or Wiki database for shared use. You can function as an administrator of the database, with your supervisees having limited editing opportunities in the documents. You can upload new contacts and materials to the Wiki as new inquiries arrive and you see some issues that worry or interest large numbers of students.
Don’t think of such work as a waste of time or energy. You’re likely to enjoy much fewer inquiries from students who can find all the needed resources, information, and contact details in the database, thus performing your advisor function without overstretching yourself. In addition, even if students continue turning to you with the same questions, all you need to do is copy a link to a relevant Wiki page, not spending any extra time for the search of information.
Create an Advisor Resource Spreadsheet
You, as an advisor, are not omnipotent, so you may also not know the answer to a student’s question from time to time. It’s not a reason to feel ashamed or guilty; it’s a cause for consulting additional resources and finding the needed data. To minimize the time spent on such searching, you should have your own database of sources for consultation. Expand the database as new inquiries arrive, requiring you to search in new places and ask new people. Having such a cheat sheet at hand will always be a huge time saver.
Develop Communication Templates
As a student advisor, you’ll have to write too many messages and emails, responding to student inquiries. So, to save your time, you can develop a small set of templates for regular, recurring scenarios. But don’t overuse the templates as students tend to feel the impersonal tone of the message. As a result, you risk seeming ineffective as a student advisor because of the lack of personal touch in communication.The golden middle is to have template blocks for answering standard inquiries while starting and ending the messages individually for each student.
Learn Effective Scheduling
As soon as you start working with numerous supervisees and at the same time manage your studies and personal life, scheduling becomes essential. You won’t be able to find a single spare minute for your personal issues, even to brush your teeth in the morning, if your studies and supervisor duties mix chaotically to fill every minute of your life.
So, not to fall prey to your altruism and a desire to help fellow students, you need to work out a detailed schedule for all duties. Let’s suppose you have classes from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. Then it’s OK to set supervisor hours from 2 p.m. (after a mandatory lunch break not to find yourself starving to death in the evening) to 5 p.m. Inform your student advisees about this schedule and ask them to be patient, not crowding your messengers and mailboxes with inquiries and update requests during other parts of the day.
Choose the Right Communication Channels
Different people communicate effectively via different channels, so this is your task to apply a bit of psychology to determine the best communication channels for various supervisees. If you see that some students can’t capture the information you send online, maybe it’s wise to set up a 10-minute meeting and explain everything in person? You’ll save time and nerves instead of sending 50 emails with detailed explanations, only to receive the same question in return.
Supervisors Are Real Helpers
If you have decided to become a student advisor, our congrats! The position is essential, given the number of first-year students confused and misled on many subjects at the start of education. But don’t forget about yourself and your interests. Never undermine your assignment deadlines while serving the needs of other students. If you feel totally unable to complete some assignment on time, it’s better to pay someone to write my college essay instead of using your advisership as a lame excuse. But still, try to avoid such situations and set clear boundaries and time limits for each role in your student life.