The responsibilities of the Board of First-Year Advisers exist in three domains. There are logistical tasks and transactions for both advisers and students. During meetings with advisees, advisers foster reflective thinking about the undergraduate experience. And finally, advisers help students connect with key campus resources.

Logistics and Transactional Tasks

  • Complete questionnaire in early summer to help the APO match advisees
  • Meet students during First-Year Student Orientation in August and during the course selection periods each term (August and January), averaging two or three meetings with each advisee
  • Meet every three or four weeks throughout the term (the advising relationship is a two-way street, but the responsibility to organize frequent advising meetings falls largely on the adviser)
  • Lift course enrollment holds
  • Enter advising notes and communicate with other advisers
  • Consult with the Resident Dean of First-Year Students when any concerns arise

Fostering Reflection

  • Understand the undergraduate curriculum and key decisions first-year students face
  • Discuss course selection at the start of each term
  • Reflect on course experience throughout the term
  • Aid students in reflecting on the question “What do I want my Harvard experience to look like?”
  • Foster student agency in their educational experience
  • Encourage students to examine their conceptions of success and foster resilience when students face setbacks
  • Ask advisees to consider co-curricular academic opportunities such as research or study abroad

Establishing Connections

Good advisers help students make the most of Harvard’s resources and opportunities through a three-step process.

  1. Advisers develop familiarity with the resources and opportunities.
  2. Advisers then help their students learn about appropriate resources and empower their students to use them 
  3. Finally, advisers communicate with other members of a student’s advising network to keep them informed.
  • Develop familiarity with campus resources and opportunities through trainings and ongoing sessions of the Adviser Learning Series 
  • Model to advisees the process of learning about new opportunities and resources
  • Connect advisees to specific resources, people, and offices as appropriate 
  • Communicate and reinforce messages about key opportunities to advisees
  • Empower advisees to develop relationships with faculty
  • Empower students to seek help and to take initiative
  • Form connections with other members of the First-Year Advising network, including the Resident Dean and Proctor

Meeting With Advisees

Members of the BFA are expected to offer individual meetings to advisees approximately every three or four weeks. Both the adviser and the advisee have responsibility for nurturing the advising relationship, but the adviser is primarily responsible for ensuring that advising meetings occur regularly. Advisers may meet advisees individually or as an advising group. Advisers should take notes in the Advising Journal following substantive advising conversations. 

n.b. During the pandemic, the APO takes guidance from public health officials and the University about the appropriateness of in-person meetings. 

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