As with all interviews, preparation is key. When interviewing for a specific job, it is vital you understand the role. As well as the organization and the values behind it. An advisor’s role is to guide students, and therefore you might get some very specific questions during the interview.
Don’t let these questions throw you off your stride. Let me help you prepare by taking an in-depth look at some Academic Advisor Interview Questions!
What Is An Academic Advisor?
An academic advisor is a counselor who assists students throughout their time at university. They are there to assist in class selection, support students’ academic work. Offer ideas on how to plan students’ careers after university. And give advice on how to improve grades and develop study skills.
They are also there to discuss any challenges students are facing. Overall, their role is to help students have the best possible experience at university.
What is a Day in the Life of an Academic Advisor?
A typical day of an academic advisor does not exist as every day can be different depending on the students. In general, it would involve meeting with students to discuss their classes.
Advice on careers and how to stay on track to graduate on time. Responding to emails and general admin tasks. This takes up a portion of the day, and writing summaries of each student meeting should be expected.
What are the Qualifications of an Academic Advisor?
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is needed to be considered for an academic advisor role. This should be in a relevant field such as education or counseling. However, if your degree is not within a relevant field, you can overcome this through work experience.
To improve your chances of getting a role as an academic advisor, a master’s degree will help you stand out against other candidates.
What Skills and Traits Are Needed to Be an Academic Advisor?
As academic advisors work directly with students, compassion and empathy are essential traits needed. You should have excellent communication and time management skills along with this and be detail-oriented.
General administration skills are important. You will be working in an office. But most importantly, an academic advisor should be patient and passionate about their role.
What is the Salary of an Academic Advisor?
The country, your qualifications, and the status of the university you apply to can all influence the salary you may be offered for this position. The average salary for an academic advisor in the US is approximately $45,000 per year, but it can vary from $35,000-$60,000.
An academic advisor can be a very fulfilling job where you get to work closely with students and assist them on their journey through education. No day is the same as every student is different, and each meeting will present new challenges and learning experiences. It can be rewarding when you watch students you have worked with graduating and progressing with their careers.
A student roster is more than two or three students; some can be a few hundred students! Hence, not only can the workload be high, but it is impossible to build authentic relationships with all of your students. There can also be circumstances where a promising student must drop out due to illness, an accident, or a financial situation that cannot be helped.
It may be difficult to detach yourself from this work, especially in situations where you have limited power. In addition, some students that approach you may be unhappy or frustrated with the university, which can make for an unpleasant meeting.
A Few Examples
Most of our anxiety around interviews is caused by not knowing the questions they may ask us. What happens if they ask you something that you cannot answer?
Well, to help you prepare for your interview and ease some of that nervousness, here are some example questions that you may be asked and some example answers that you can adapt for your own interview.
When you are given your advisory roster, how much of each student’s background do you like to learn?
“Getting to know my students and their backgrounds as much as possible is vital in order to guide them to success. Each student is different, so you cannot apply a one size fits all style of advising. On top of making my students experience better, learning as much as I can about their backgrounds also makes my job easier.”
How would you advise a student who is undecided in their major?
“A huge part of going to university is learning about yourself and what your likes and dislikes are outside your familiar home environment. I think this is an excellent starting point, firstly starting with your dislikes and eliminating careers from there.
I also recommend the student participating in work experience and keeping track of the pros and cons of their experiences. Attending career fairs, watching Ted Talks, and exploring new hobbies can all help spark a new interest in an undecided student.”
When would you advise a student to switch majors?
“Switching majors is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It can be costly and time-consuming, which should be reiterated to the student before the decision is made. However, if a student is unhappy and considering dropping out, then it is an option I would discuss with them.
If a student has decided on a new career path that would be more suited to a different major, I will explore their options and steps they can take to reach their goals both with their current major and on their potentially new major to ensure they have all the information they need to make an optimal decision.”
Tell us about a time you worked with a diverse group of people?
“I was fortunate enough to work in a diverse team during my previous employment. I find that diversity brings new ideas and creates a more innovative environment for everyone to thrive and learn in.”
What steps would you take if a student you were assigned was failing a course?
“Firstly, I believe you have to take a step back and look at the big picture as this can be different for every student. What is their home life like? Are they enjoying the class? Are they getting along with their peers? What is their learning style? What are their outside commitments?
It could be something simple such as the student not committing enough time to studying or having not developed a productive study style. These are things I can assist them with.
Alternatively, they may have over-committed to extracurricular activities or may be experiencing some unsettlement in their personal life, so it is important to get to the root of the issue before you advise to ensure the student succeeds once more.”
How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time?
“I have developed my time management skills over the years, and I believe it is now one of my strongest skills. At the beginning of every week, I like to note down all the tasks I must complete or work on in order of time sensitivity. Then every day, I look back to this list and incorporate it into my daily to-do lists.
By doing this, I not only complete the most important tasks at the start of the week, but it allows me flexibility in my work so if unforeseen tasks appear, I can tackle them without it impacting my deadlines.”
What was your opinion on your own academic advisor when you were in university?
“My experience with my own academic advisor was very mixed. I found him to be very helpful in navigating class selection and ensuring I would graduate on time; however, when discussing future careers, he was less helpful.
From this experience, I have learned the importance of providing students with the resources they need to understand the job market. Everything I wish I had learned I make sure to discuss in my meetings so that I’ve not only guided the student through their university experience but offered some future guidance for when they graduate.”
Need More Interview Info And Advice?
If you’re not feeling quite ready yet, here is my interviewing advice on how to answer Why Do You Want To Work Here, How Do You Handle Conflict, What Are Your Career Goals, How Would You Describe Yourself, or What Are You Most Proud Of, What Makes You Unique, and my Strengths And Weaknesses For Job Interviews in 2021.
For some online insight into the subject, we’ve found Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, Amazing Interview Answers: 44 Tough Job Interview Questions with 88 Winning Answers, Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions to Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent, or maybe How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions for that final preparation.
You can never be over-prepared, so take a look at the INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED!: How to Ace the Interview, Sell Yourself & Get Your Dream Job, The STAR Method Explained: Proven Technique to Succeed at Interview, as well as The STAR Interview: How to Tell a Great Story, Nail the Interview and Land Your Dream Job.
Why not practice your STAR Method beforehand with the STAR METHOD INTERVIEW: Interview Journal: A Notebook designed for job seekers as a guide for interview prep and as a tool for interview questions and answers during interviews also available online.
The role of an academic advisor is diverse and fulfilling. Most importantly, candidates have got to be passionate about their job and put their students first. Also, remember as an academic advisor, you will be setting an example at all times for your students.
Using these examples of academic advisor questions, you will be more prepared and ready to shine in your interview. Dressing the part for your interview is essential, as well as acting professionally and courteously.
All the very best with your future Interviews!