Academic Advising and Career Exploration Center
Chapter 2 - FHSU Student Characteristics

Developmental Aspects

Academic Advising

  Academic Personal Advisor's Role
Freshman Fearful of failing
Unsure of requirements
Confused or unrealistic expectations
New academic demands
Vague career goals
Managing emotions
Finding a social fit
Exposure to new values
Increased financial worries
Separation from family
Adjusting to life changes
Be accessible
Be a good listener
Provide support
Give information on
requirements, courses
Be nonjudgmental
Make referrals
Sophomore More aware of expectations
Tired of school
Impatient to get into major
Pressure to find a major
Mixed confidence level
Increased self-awareness
Developing support systems
Campus involvement
More relaxed
Encourage further exploration
Help with assessment of skills
Focus options on realistic choices
Junior Settled into a major or desperately seeking one
Looking for enhancements (e.g.,
minor or double major)
Developing faculty relations
Application of learning
Balance of work, study and free time
More confident
Looking beyond college
Leadership roles in organizations
Romantic involvement
Begin mentor relationship
Encourage responsibilities
Provide information on graduate school/careers
Encourage creativity to enhance degree
Senior Winding down
Applying and integrating knowledge
Commencing job search/preparing
for grad school
Graduation audit
Unsure of future
Transition to independent adult
Assist with graduation audit
Prepare student to make transition
Continue discussion of career
Continue mentor relationship
Write recommendations

Career Advising

Freshman Year

  • Determine interests, abilities, values, and personality preferences
  • Participate in individual career counseling or group workshops
  • Attend programs to examine your interests, abilities, values, personality preferences and career plans
  • Use various career inventories to help you learn about yourself
  • Attend Career Fairs
  • Academic Advising--Develop a core curriculum to build toward career goals
  • Get feedback from professors, friends, academic advisors and family about your interests, abilities, values, personality preferences and career plans

Sophomore Year
Learn Career Information
What careers relate to my interests, abilities, values, and personality preferences?

  • Visit the Career Resource Library at the Kelly Center and Career Services
  • Explore numerous career/major choices on the Internet
  • Attend Career Fairs
  • Academic Advising--Develop a degree plan with academic requirements
  • Seek assistance from your Academic Advisor

Junior Year
Experience Career Alternatives
What's it like to be employed in various careers?

  • Spend a "Day on the Job" with an alumnus or a professional in your field of interest
  • Find career-related summer of part-time jobs
  • Attend Career Fairs
  • Participate in on-campus interviews
  • Attend workshops and seminars on resume writing, interviewing, supply/demand trends and other related career information
  • Establish a credential file
  • Academic Advising--Discuss internships, graduate school and career opportunities

Senior Year
"Job Search"
Implement a Career Choice
How do I find a job?

  • Register with Career Services to get you in front of employers
  • View jobs from around the world and submit your resume instantly. Check announcements for all up-to-date information
  • Participate in workshops and/or counseling. Learn job search strategies, resume development and interview preparation
  • Interview with organizations through on campus interviews
    • Prepare a resume and cover letter
    • Read/view the Job Vacancy Bulletins
    • Attend Career Fairs
    • Update credential file
    • Participate in Mock Interviews
    •  Apply to Graduate School

Nontraditional Students

As our university demographics show, nontraditional students are a growing part of our student population. The average age of a student a FHSU is 24. Many returning students are nontraditional. They are looking to strike a balance between academics and their responsibilities (single parenting, childcare, and other family obligations). The issues that confront nontraditional students suggest that advisors should be informed regarding resources that can help them navigate their lives.

Offer information or referrals concerning:
Personal counseling
Tutoring options
Student Health

Writing Center

Be familiar with nontraditional options such as Virtual College coursework, acceleration mechanisms, and nontraditional degrees (A.G.S. and B.G.S.).

Multicultural Aspects

Fort Hays State University is admitting students of a more diverse cultural, racial and linguistic background as we provide more options that attract a more diverse population. Being able to communicate effectively both verbally and nonverbally are important as we see our student population change. Please visit the Office of Diversity Affairs in the Memorial Union and use these suggestions for advising a more diverse student population:

  • Become aware of your own cultural values and beliefs and recognize how they influence your attitudes and behaviors
  • Become aware of the cultural values and beliefs of others and understand how they influence their attitudes and behaviors
  • Avoid stereotyping
  • View each student as an individual, rather than as a representative of a particular culture or country
  • Appreciate students' value systems and help them understand the learning community and its values
  • Understand that nonverbal behaviors are not universal in meaning--eye contact, gestures, body positions, space. Do not let varying styles of communication interfere with having a meaningful advising session
  • Be a good listener and try to understand what students are asking. To improve communication, rephrase their remarks to verify your interpretation

This requires:

  • Openness to change
  • Acknowledgment of diversity
  • Knowing and respecting the norms of other groups
  • Understanding and accepting those differences
  • The ability to be nonjudgmental and inclusive

Samovar, Larry and Porter, Richard. Communication between Cultures, Chap. 10; 1991 edition, published by Wadsworth Publishing, Belmont, California.

Students with Disabilities

Some FHSU students will require disability related advising or accommodations. Please encourage them to provide necessary documentation to Disability Student Services. If you are presented a Faculty Contact Sheet from the coordinator, please read it carefully, as it will provide information regarding the nature of accommodation for the student. Please direct any questions to the coordinator. Disability information is confidential and should be treated that way. 

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