Academic Advising and Career Counseling

Students often regard the educational planning process and the search for majors in terms directly related to specific jobs/careers, and they presume that conversations with academic advisers will naturally combine the undergraduate educational experience with career preparation. Is this expectation appropriate? Should academic advising and career counseling on college campuses work hand-in-hand? Should these two areas of expertise be more centralized or even operate within the same unit to provide one-stop guidance to students, or are they distinctly different in their missions and better suited to function separately?

What is your opinion?

Filed Under: , ,

Discuss This Article


  1. user gravatar
    Dana Ulwick

    I strongly agree that academic advising and career counseling should work together directly. Since students are going to college to start a career they should know how to get there through academics. Most of the time that career path changes through out the time that students spend in their undergraduate years. Students should be able to make appointments with career services through the advising office and be required to do so after an advising appointment to make sure you are doing what you need to in order to succeed in the future. In my experience as a peer adviser most students do not know how career services can help and how early they should start doing internships. If these two services coincided students would all know what they are supposed to do. At UMass Amherst where I go to school you can earn academic credits through internships which is just one way that makes these two services directly connected. There is an adviser from career services who spends some of her time working in the Social and Behavioral Sciences advising office. She works directly with career services and specializes in helping students from the SBS college. This is extremely helpful because UMass Amherst is such a big school it can be easy to get lost in the crowd, and this makes it easy to know which classes will help get internships and which internships will get the job you would like in the future. Academic Advising and career services are connected in so many ways that it only makes sense to have them work together directly. Since college is about getting the career students want the two services want to do all they can to help students achieve those goals and them working together will only make that process easier.

  2. user gravatar
    Amy Carmack

    Academic advising and career counseling should absolutely work hand-in-hand. As an academic advisor for a general studies major, I often worked with students on how to translate the skills and classes for the major into tangible products for the workplace. The question I most often received was “What kind of jobs can I get with this major?” The lack of knowledge on campus about the major prompted me to pair with career services to host a series of workshops about making that translation. More important, if students start using career counseling/services early in their collegiate career, they are more likely to feel comfortable using the services when looking for an internship and job prior to graduation. It is never too early for students to start pairing their academic pursuits with their career pursuits.

  3. user gravatar
    Donnamarie Nakos

    Advising should be a collaborative effort and can include both academic and career counseling. A student may identify his lifelong job goal, and academic advising should help him or her reach it with the proper education through the program of study or academic program. An academic advisor/counselor has to be oriented to more than just giving academic advice and look at the whole of the student.

  4. user gravatar
    Shannon Telenko

    I think it depends on the student population and the individual student. It might be more appropriate to combine the two if working with adult learners, who may be coming to school specifically for a career change (but this does not apply to all adult learners, some of whom may just want to learn for the sake of learning). More traditional aged students may want to use their college experience as a time to explore and perhaps a career is something s/he will figure out later. However, I think it’s always a good idea to have some kind of a resource that helps students to see what types of careers or career paths students in a specific major might lean toward. Or to refer a student to career services when appropriate.

  5. user gravatar
    Kelly MacCleary

    I believe it is instrumental that advising and career services work very closely together. When a student is mentored through their program to make the best choices they will be better prepared for success when they graduate. Over the last year our department has hired a separate internship coordinator and also a career services person to assist our students through their program. This has proved to be very beneficial to not only our students, but various organizations within the community that are working with our students.


     ISSN: 1521-2211