Developing Your Students’ Trust

College Counselors

It’s critical that your students trust you as an academic advisor to guide them through their college years. How can you earn someone’s trust? Allow us to provide you with some techniques for developing positive relationships with your students.

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Academic advisors aid students with their college experiences by assisting them with course registration and graduation preparation. They also assist kids who are having academic difficulties in getting the help they require. Being an academic advisor entails being able to assist college students with difficult academic decisions. It can be a challenging career, but it can also be extremely rewarding.

Building trust with your students is one of the most difficult aspects of being an academic advisor, and trust is key to being an effective academic advisor. Here are some helpful hints for gaining students’ trust and affecting long-term change in their academic lives.

Make yourself available.

It’s critical to be a dependable student adviser so that your students see you as a constant in their academic lives and that they know they can reach out to you whenever they need help. You should have established and consistent office hours during which your students can contact you regarding academic matters. Make sure your students are aware of your availability and that you keep to it.

If students contact you, react as thoroughly as feasible and as quickly as feasible. This entails staying on top of emails and other forms of communication, as well as adhering to a professional response time of 24 to 48 hours. It could also imply prioritising more urgent correspondences so that students who require immediate assistance are more likely to receive it.

It can be beneficial to have an automatic email notice to let students know that you will answer to their inquiries as soon as possible when you are overloaded and unable to answer.

Be Warm and Friendly

It’s also crucial to maintain an approachable and kind demeanour, particularly when working with students who are new to college and may be feeling overwhelmed and scared. Students need the safety and comfort of a welcome and stable environment to trust you and discuss potentially difficult academic difficulties with you.

This can be accomplished by constructing an office space with comfortable seating for pupils. When possible, limit unwanted noises and distractions in your workstation, and, if necessary, provide a private location for students to discuss difficult difficulties in their academic lives.

Be flexible.

Rather than sticking to a conventional response structure, be ready to change your approach to the requirements of individual pupils. Some students may want to communicate only via email or other digital means. Others may have powerful emotional reactions to their own circumstances. Advisors must be able to work with students depending on their individual requirements, offering the same degree of support even in virtual environments.

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Be truthful.

As an advisor, be honest with your students about what you can and cannot do to assist them. Academic advisers, as you may know, have limited authority to assist students with specific academic issues. Students may need to communicate with professors or other professionals in some instances.

For example, an academic adviser should not operate as a therapist, and students will have more faith in advisors if they know where they stand. Make sure you have clear lines of communication with your kids and that you understand your legal and personal boundaries. Students should understand what they can and cannot expect from you.

Be well-informed

Colleges can be difficult to navigate, and many parts of students’ academic experiences might be difficult to understand. You should be aware of the following:

  • Graduation requirements for students
  • Resources for students in college
  • How do your college’s transfer credits work?
  • Beyond a bachelor’s degree, there are a variety of choices.
  • Resources for graduating students who want to pursue a career in the field.
  • Fees for students and prerequisites for course scheduling

Resources for financial assistance

You should also work on being more educated about common challenges that college students face, such as mental health and disability concerns. Nothing inspires more confidence than knowing the answer.

Be focused on your objectives.

Keeping track of individual students’ academic paths as they advance through college and keeping their goals in mind might be beneficial. Students who want to graduate early, for example, may require assistance in completing the required courses on time. Part-time study and online courses may be beneficial to students who need to care for family members or work long hours in addition to their schoolwork. Students who change majors must re-evaluate prerequisites and adjust their course load to accommodate their new field of study.

Knowing your student’s goals can make follow-up meetings go more smoothly, and it can help students trust you to remember who they are and what their specific needs and goals are. Even if pupils doubt their ability to achieve their goals, try to have a positive attitude. This can assist them gain faith in you and regain their confidence throughout difficult situations.

Take your time to listen.

One of the most important roles of academic advisers is to listen to what students have to say about their personal and academic problems. When necessary, reading between the lines can assist you in providing effective assistance and guidance that is suited to your student’s requirements. If at all possible, avoid making assumptions about kids; instead, treat each one as a person deserving of your attention. Keeping an open mind will assist you in guiding pupils through situations with which you are unfamiliar.

For example, not all students will want to graduate as soon as feasible, and some may have no desire to graduate at all. Some students may be suffering with difficult illnesses that are interfering with their studies. Make every effort to meet kids where they are and to address their concerns with subtlety and understanding. Students might benefit greatly from having someone they feel they can talk to and who understands them, especially during challenging academic periods.


Building trust also means seeing the achievement of your pupils as a personal and professional goal. Following up on their progress and expressing your concerns are examples of how you might become involved. All good advisers are engaged in helping students make the most of their college experiences. Reaching out to kids, honouring promises, and remembering students’ experiences when you meet with them are all examples of this. Students who believe you care about them as persons are more inclined to put their trust in you and take advantage of your assistance.

Look after yourself.

Advising is a job that can be emotionally draining. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll be far less able to aid students. It is your obligation as an adviser to take breaks, get adequate sleep, eat well, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Having solid skills for doing so can also help you deliver information to students who are having trouble with self-care.

You’ll also have a better chance of earning students’ trust if you have the energy and resources to prioritise their needs throughout working hours. Nobody can pour from an empty cup, so practise what you preach and keep a close eye on your workload to avoid burnout. You will be able to better assist students in the long run and strengthen your capacity to be a centre of stability in their academic lives in this manner.

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