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The objectives of the student advisement program are to ensure that students are aware of their program requirements, and with the help of their advisor, follow the sequence of courses for their program to insure timely graduation.  This program assigns students to advisors who are either a faculty member or a counselor.



The division provides suggested schedule every semester by program. [click here...]


Academic Advising is defined as "a decision-making process during which students realize their maximum educational potential through communication and information exchanges with an advisor."

Purpose of Academic Advising Program:

The primary purpose of the academic advising program is to assist students in the development of meaningful educational plans that are compatible with their life goals.  Academic advising at the College of Micronesia-FSM should be viewed as continuous process of clarification and evaluation. 

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COM-FSM Goals for Academic Advising:

1. Development of suitable educational plans relating to the student's IDP.

2. Clarification of career and life goals.

3. Selection of appropriate courses and other educational experiences.

4. Interpretation of institutional program requirements.

5. Evaluation of student progress toward established goals.

6. Development of decision-making skills.

7. Reinforcement of student self direction.

8. Referral to and use of institutional and community support services e.g. SSSP Services and other tutoring programs established by the college.

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The academic advising program must promote learning and development in students by encouraging experiences which lead to intellectual growth, ability to communicate effectively, realistic self-appraisal, enhanced self-esteem, clarification of values, appropriate career choices, leadership development, physical fitness, meaningful interpersonal relations, ability to work independently and collaboratively, social responsibility, appreciation of aesthetic and cultural diversity, and achievement of personal goals.

The academic program must provide current and accurate advising information to academic advisors.

The academic advising program must assure that academic advisors collaborate in the collection of relevant data about students for use in individual academic advising conferences.

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Academic Advisor Responsibilities: 

The Advisor should:

1. Confer with each advisee at least twice a semester to accomplish the following:

    * To assist advisees in identifying their interests on educational and/or career goals.

    * To assist advisees in planning their academic
   Programs. This process can be facilitated if the advisor is prepared by reviewing:

a.  The student's Individual Degree Plan
b.  The registration procedure
c.  A copy of the course selection materials for
d.  The current College's general catalog
e.  A list of requirements for each program being offered on campus
f.  Academic calendar for the college
g.  Student folders, including notes from previous terms

  *To review and use available data about students'

academic and educational needs, performance,
aspirations, and problems.

2. Familiarize himself/herself with program requirements consistent with the College catalog.

3. Become knowledgeable about general education requirements, degree requirements, academic policies and procedures.

4. Aware of other courses and academic programs available at the college.

5. Aware of campus programs and services available to students and able to refer students to these services when appropriate.

6. Help students understand why the referral is being made, explain what kinds of services are offered and what they may expect from the referred services, and help the students make the appointment.

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Student's Responsibilities in the Academic Advising Process:

1.  Discuss their long-range goals with advisors.

2.  Discussing their choice of major with advisors.

3.  Making final decisions about choices concerning
     academic matters.

4.  Being able and willing to ask intelligent questions about their degree program.

5.  Keeping advisors informed of changes in schedule, academic problems, change of major, etc.

6.  Making regular appointments with you and seeking help when needed.

7.  Keeping advising appointment and being on time.

8.  Gathering all decision-making information before appointments.

9.  Following through on referrals.

10.Accept responsibility for decisions and academic choices.

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Are you a good Advisor?

Many professional and faculty advisors have no standardized means of evaluating their advising performance. Often, the only evidence of effective advising is a student's genuine thanks.  A careful self-appraisal may provide you with an objective look at your advising skills and how you might improve them.

Ask yourself the following questions

1.  Are your office hours visibly posted?  How well do you keep them?

2.  How many students do you really see during the week?

3.  Do you ever invite your students to come in to see you?

4.  Do you keep accurate, clear advising notes?

5.  Do you request written evaluations from your students?

6.  Do you give advisees the time and consideration warranted by their concerns?

7.  When referring students to other offices, do you help them "connect" by providing the names and phone numbers of people to contact?

8. Do you attempt to help students choose courses which relate to their program of study?

9. Do you treat all students equally and with respect without regard to age, race, disability, gender, and sexual or religious preference?

10. Do you handle student concerns creatively?

11. Do you keep up with changes in college and departmental policies?

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Communication Skills for Advisors:

The Advising process may be enhanced by certain advisor behaviors and may be affected negatively by others.  Verbal and non-verbal behaviors such as facial expression, tone of voice, and body language can have an impact on advising outcomes.  Some effective verbal and non-verbal communication behaviors are summarized below.

1.  Effective Communication Skills

a. Adjusts tone of voice to advisees

b. Allows advisee to choose direction of the discussion

c.  Reflects back and clarifies statements

d.  Uses understandable words

e.  Interprets academic jargon when needed

f.  Summarizes for advisee

g.  Help advisee focus on issues

h.  Responds to primary message

i.  Calls advisee by first name

j.  Asks open questions; encourages the advisee to give complete answers

l.  Use verbal reinforcers, e.g.,  "mm-mm", "I see", "Yes"
m. Uses moderate rate of speech 

2.  Non Verbal

a.  Maintains good eye contact

b.  Leans body towards advisee

c.  Nods heads occasionally

d.  Uses hand gestures occasionally

e.  Has appropriate facial expression smiles

f.  Demonstrates respect for the student

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Advising Students in Developmental Courses:

Some students continue to need developmental math and/or English courses even though they are admitted into the degree programs at national campus and a large number of students are enrolled in developmental courses at the state campuses.  All new students are required to take a placement test for English courses and students are placed in math classes according to their scores on the COMET.  Sometimes students perform poorly on tests and their actual classroom performance may exceed the course they placed into.  On the other hand, some students may be placed in a class that is too difficult for them.  Instructors who teach developmental math or English courses have the option to move students in developmental courses from one course to another during the first three weeks of a semester.  The "Developmental Add/Drop Form" is used for this purpose.

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Advising Students with Unsatisfactory Academic Performance:

An unfortunate fact of academic life is that a good number of College of Micronesia-FSM students for a variety of reasons, have poor academic performance.  Academic advisors often must advise students who are on warning, probation, or suspension.  For some students, unsatisfactory performance reflects certain types of problems that are often long-standing and, if not given attention, may continue and result in further academic difficulties.

Reasons for unsatisfactory performance include:

1. Poor study habits

2. Noise in the dormitory

3. Working and going to school

4. Living in a crowded home environment

5. Student/teacher relationship

6. Unrealistic course choices in view of interests and abilities

7. Lack of direction

8. Exam anxiety and/or poor exam taking techniques

9. Personal and/or family problems

10.Not being prepared to perform college-level work

11.Lack of motivation

12.Living far away from the college

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Suggestions for Working with Students with Unsatisfactory Performance

1.  Review students' previous records to determine if there is a long-standing history of poor performance and if a significant number of unsatisfactory hours have been accumulated.

2.  Candidly discuss the consequences of past or present unsatisfactory performance and the outcome of continued unsatisfactory grades(e.g., probation, suspension, or dismissal).  Refer to the college catalog for specific consequences.

3.  Convey to students your concern about their academic performance and encourage them to meet with you or appropriate instructor(s) on a regular basis.

4.  Refer students to appropriate on-campus resources such as the LRC, the counseling services, nursing services, SSSP services, and other on island related services.

5.  Assist students in making course selections in relation to their past performance.

6.  Suggest taking a reduced course load.

7.  Work with students to determine the reasons for unsatisfactory grades and help them to determine the types of changes that need to occur.


Very often concerned advisors can influence students' academic careers and may also contribute to improved student retention.  Students do not always recognize the consequences of unsatisfactory  performance, and through early intervention, advisors may help students avert continued academic difficulties.

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Legal and Ethical Issues in Academic Advising:

Legal issues involved in academic advising fall generally under four categories (Young, D. Parker, "Legal Issues Regarding Academic Advising", NACADA Journal, November 1982).

1.  The contractual relationship between students and institution;

2. Guidelines governing privacy of students' records;

3.  The concept of privileged communications, and

4.  Academic due process and the need for grievance procedures.

Through COM-FSM publications, most notably the catalog and departmental materials, the COM-FSM establishes contractual obligations between the institution and students.  Responsibility of knowing College policies/procedures rests with students, and advisors will not be held personally liable for negligent, irresponsible, or unpredictable behavior of students.  By keeping complete and accurate notes of advising sessions, advisors can protect themselves against claims of erroneous advising.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 protects the privacy of students' records and provides for students' access to information in advising files.  Any notes should be written with this in mind; notes of a personal nature should not be included in the file.  COM-FSM officials and faculty with a legitimate interest may view student files but other parties may do so only with student permission. 

For example, advisors should not reveal specific information about students to parents or spouses unless they have permission to do so.

Even though students have a right to privacy, advisors may discuss confidential information with other appropriate individuals in an effort to help them.

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Advisor Roles and Responsibilities


In the advisor-advisee relations, the student is primarily responsible for seeking academic  advisement from the advisor. The central roles and responsibilities of the advisor are


To assist students in developing sound academic programs by:

1.  exploring with student their individual interests, abilities, and goals; assisting students in developing an academic plan that satisfies graduation requirements;

2.  offering advice in the selection and sequencing

of courses which meet requirements of general education, major, and electives;

3.  helping students explore career options that are consistent with their program of study; and

4.  monitoring student progress and helping students make desired adaptations in their programs.

To make known to students the programs, resources, and services available at the College that may offer information/assistance at the student's particular stage of academic or career development.

To establish a relationship of trust and openness which will allow students to become increasingly self-directing.

To discuss matters of general College adjustment with students.

To keep informed about College policies, regulations, programs, and procedures in order to answer accurately student questions and concerns.

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Student Responsibilities

Each student must bear ultimate responsibility for the development of his or her academic program and for meeting all graduation requirements.

In the advisor-advisee relationship, the student responsibilities are:

1.  to meet with their advisor as frequently as necessary to keep the advisor informed about changes in progress, course selection, career goals, and registration.

2.  to seek sources of information which will assist them in making life/career decisions;

3.  to contact the advisor when confronted with major academic problems and to keep the advisor aware of other problems which may affect their academic performance;

4.  to be an active participant in the advisor-advisee relationship and to become increasingly self-directing in their development as students;

5.  to meet all graduation requirements, following the academic plan established by students in consultation with their advisor;

6.  to maintain personal records of academic progress and to resolve any discrepancies on the official grade reports; and

7.  to become knowledgeable about college regulations, program requirements, and procedures.

To prevent academic difficulty, students should be reminded to allow adequate time for studying and class preparation.  A guide to go by is three (3) hours of study time for every one (1) hour of class time.  Study time should include reviewing lecture notes, reading textbooks and taking notes, improving vocabulary, preparing questions for the next class, homework, research, etc.

A checklist that can be used when working with students in academic difficulty.  This checklist, used as a part of a recovery program for failing students, was developed by Dr. Debbie Wilson, sports psychologist, at George Mason University.

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Copyright@2008. All Rights Reserved.
Instructional Affairs-College of Micronesia-FSM
P. O. Box 159, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM 96941
(691) 320-2480

This page was modified last 04/26/2007
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