What is Academic Advising?

Sonoma State University recognizes academic advising to be a critical component of the educational experience. Academic advising is designed to provide necessary tools and information for all students, allowing them to take responsibility for developing educational and career plans compatible with their goals; meeting institutional and degree requirements; and preparing for a life of change, challenge, and individual fulfillment as active citizens.

There are countless definitions of academic advising. We've handpicked a few of our favorites which speak to our values and approach:

"Advisors teach students how to make the most of their college experience." (Miller, 2012)

"Academic advising is a developmental process which assists students in the clarification of their life/career goals and in the development of educational plans for the realization of these goals. It is a decision-making process by which students realize their maximum educational potential through communication and information exchanges with an advisor; it is ongoing, multifaceted, and the responsibility of both student and advisor. The advisor serves as a facilitator of communication, a coordinator of learning experiences through course and career planning and academic progress review, and an agent of referral to other campus agencies as necessary." (Winston, Enders, & Miller, 1982)

Our Model

Sonoma State University takes a shared, collaborative, and student-centered approach to academic advising. Through a complementary partnership between Faculty Advisors and Professional Academic Advisors, we work together to ensure each student has access to the advising and support needed to thrive and persist toward on-time graduation.

Faculty Advisors

Faculty Advisors help students learn which major courses and necessary prerequisites to take to persist towards on-time graduation. Our Faculty Advisors bring their wealth of academic and industry experience and expertise to support students in the work they do in their chosen program of study, discussing graduate school options, internships, career mentoring, etc. Additionally, Faculty Advisors work with students to get them involved in undergraduate research, relevant co-curricular opportunities, and connected with other faculty that share their interests.

Professional Academic Advisors

Professional Academic Advisors provide holistic and proactive academic advising to support the whole student. Our Professional Academic Advisors work with students to explore who they want to become personally, professionally and academically. Goals are then reverse-engineered to curate an educational experience of curricular and cocurricular opportunities to support a student's development, success, graduation, and preparation for a life of change, challenge and individual fulfillment as active citizens. Professional Academic Advisors use intensive advising techniques, appreciative advising techniques, proactive outreach and academic coaching to assist students in developing and attaining their goals. Every student is unique, so each academic advising session is tailored individually to the student.

Who is my Academic Advisor?

Students are assigned a Faculty Advisor and/or a Professional Academic Advisor. These assignments are based on various factors, such as whether a student is part of a specialized population or support program; the number of units the student has completed; and the student's declared major. Students may find their assigned advisor a few different ways: