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Academic Advising and Career Exploration Center
Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Hays, KS 67601
Phone: (785) 628-5577 or 1-800-628-FHSU Fax: (785) 628-4657 Email:
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Chapter 2
FHSU Student Characteristics

Developmental Aspects

Academic Advising

  Academic Personal Advisor's Role
Freshmen 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

Developmental Aspects

Freshman Year - Self-Awareness
It is important to ask yourself the following questions:


  • What are my interests?
  • What are my skills and abilities?
  • What are my goals?

Explore majors compatible with your interests, abilities, values, and personality. Various inventories used in the career exploration process can assess these areas. Students may begin the career process after the completion of their first semester of college. Call (785) 628-5577 for an appointment. Students can also take UNIV 100 Major and Career Exploration to help them decide on a major.

Begin the Career Development curriculum on TigerLink. This curriculum is designed to assist students in completing the necessary steps to find the right major and prepare them for graduation and the job market.

Register and upload a resume in Careers for Tigers @ Career Services! Start learning about the job search process.

Sophomore Year - Exploration
Investigate career options within the major you have selected. Visit with your department to learn more about your major. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the employment trends for the career I have chosen?
  • What course preparation and work experience are employers looking for?
  • What kinds of jobs will my major prepare me for?

Upload and/or update your resume in Careers for Tigers @ Career Services. Start searching for internships and summer jobs.

Visit to find career paths that match your major.

Junior Year - Focus
Narrow your career options. Apply for internships and/or summer jobs related to your major and the career you are considering @ Career Services. Update your resume on Careers for Tigers!

Senior Year - Job Search
Market yourself into the world of work:

  • Utilize the services provided by Career Services including Careers for Tigers.
  • Update your resume and letter of application.
  • Interview with potential employers on and off campus.

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:

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. Suggestions for advising a more diverse student population include, but are not limited to the following:

  • 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.

Students with Disabilities

Some FHSU students will require disability related advising or accommodations. Please encourage them to provide necessary documentation to the Coordinator of 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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