A Guide to Teaching New First-Year and Transfer Advisees

As advisors, we must take the time to teach our new advisees what they need to know and what is expected of them in the advising process. This will greatly benefit students and make our experience as advisors easier and richer in the long run. While it is important to encourage students to take responsibility for their own educational planning, we must initially provide them with the tools/knowledge they need to become independent. Do not assume that new students know what they need to know to plan their educational experience at Nazareth.

While degree requirements and academic resources are explained to first year students during the New Student Orientation program, the timing is such that students are often not ready to hear/internalize this information. Degree requirements and academic resources are explained to new transfer students during the initial advisement/registration program; however, there is a lot of information shared at this brief session. In addition, some students do not attend these programs. Advisement is the only consistent way of reaching all students with this important information.


  • How to contact you and where your office is located.
  • Your expectations for your advisees. The faculty-endorsed Advisor/Advisee Roles and Responsibilities are found on the “Faculty Advising Manual” page of the Academic Advisement website, along with expected learning outcomes for advising. Also on this webpage, you will find an editable copy of an advising syllabus. You may want to customize and distribute an advising syllabus or similar resource to your advisees.
  • The minimum number of credit hours needed to graduate (120 for most programs). Full-time students must average 15 credits per semester to graduate in 8 semesters. If a student completes less than this in any one semester, they will be short credits for graduation if they do not make up the credit hours.
  • The total number of liberal arts credits required for the degree. The BA requires a minimum of 90 liberal arts credits, BS requires a minimum of 60 liberal arts credits, MusB requires a minimum of 45 liberal arts credits, and B.F.A. requires a minimum of 30 liberal arts credits.
  • Core requirements. New students often need assistance in understanding our Core. In particular, teach your advisees how to identify PEQs. Explain Integrative Studies (IS) so that students can begin to plan for that part of the Core; let them know that three courses from a minor or second major could be used for IS. Show students the Core website.
  • The philosophy behind our Core and the relationship between the liberal arts and professional programs. See the core website.
  • Major requirements and teacher certification requirements (if applicable).
  • How to access NazNet Self-Service. Refer students to the Technology & Media Service Desk (lower level of the library) if they do not know how to log in.
  • How to interpret a program evaluation. Encourage students to use the “Progress” view (program evaluation) in Student Planning as a tool to monitor their academic progress. Students should become familiar with their core and major requirements. Be sure to teach students how to monitor their total number of credits earned and GPA in their Progress. Be sure to also discuss their total liberal arts credits and how they can determine if an elective meets a liberal arts requirement.
  • How to access and utilize Nazareth's Undergraduate Catalog. Students can find the online catalog by selecting Current Students (at the top of every Naz webpage), then Course Catalogs, then View the Undergraduate Course Catalog. The catalog's “Academic Programs A-Z” link to the left provides the full listing of academic programs (majors and minors). The catalog is the best resource for students to learn about academic program requirements and policies.
  • How to access Academic Policies and Procedures. All academic policies and procedures, including degree and Core requirements, are included in the Nazareth Undergraduate Course Catalog. While the link to this publication is distributed to all new students, they do not always understand the importance of understanding academic policies, procedures, and programs.
  • Campus resources. Examples: Office of Student Success, Peer Tutoring, Student Accessibility Services, Center for Life’s Work, Health & Counseling, Academic Advisement, Writing Center, Math Center, Philosophy Lab, Language Lab, Center for International Education, Center for Spirituality, etc.
  • Educational opportunities. For example:
    • Study Abroad – contact the Center for International Education
    • Internships – contact the Assistant Director for Internships within the Center for Life’s Work
    • Double majors, minors, etc. – see the online undergraduate catalog for program options and/or ask about options in Academic Advisement
    • Students should file an application for graduation at least 30 credit hours prior to degree completion. Filing dates are published in the annual academic calendar. Students complete the Application for Graduation form through NazNet Self-Service.
    • It is the student’s responsibility to know, understand, and complete the requirements for their degree.

If you need more information about any of the above topics, please contact Academic Advisement (Smyth 2, ext. 2800). We would be happy to assist you.