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Serving as an Advisor/Mentor

Finding An Advisor & Advisor Duties 

  • Potential Advisors
  • Advisors Providing Personal Growth Opportunities
  • Advisor “Requirements”
  • Email Template: Appointment Request
  • Email Templates: Meeting Follow-Up
  • Advising Role Worksheet
  • Advisor Duties

Potential Advisors

Do Your Research

  1. Make a list of professional staff, faculty members, and/or administrators that you have met, taken classes with, or worked with that have been a positive influence for students.
  2. Ask staff/ faculty/administrators and high-achieving students to recommend other faculty/staff who may be a great fit.

Approach Your Potential Advisor

  1. Email several potential Advisors to gauge their interest and set up an appointment with each to discuss the opportunity.Meet in person during office hours rather than over the phone – it’s much easier for a potential Advisor to say “Yes” when they’ve been impressed in person.
  2. Prepare well before your meeting.Learn what else your potential Advisor is involved with on campus, so you can be clear in stating why this opportunity fits in with what they care about.

  3. Know what your role is as the student leader/officer of this campus organization, how the organization works, and most importantly what the organization represents.

  4. Have a clear agenda for your first meeting with a potential Advisor. You are in charge of this meeting, it is important to show you are organized and serious about your intentions.
  5. Prior to your in-person meeting with the potential Advisor, send a confirmation email and consider attaching an agenda, the mission/vision of the campus organization, and a general description of what the advisor duties may be.
  6. Decide during your meeting whether you think this is a good fit.If you would like this person as your Advisor, ask if they feel it’s a good fit for them at the conclusion of the meeting.You may need to schedule a specific day/time to follow up while they think it over.
  7. If there is not a good match between you and the potential Advisor, do not be afraid to ask if they have any recommendations on other colleagues to approach.
  8. No matter the outcome of the meeting, thank the potential Advisor for their time and express your appreciation for their help.

Keep in Mind

  1. You may need to approach several people on campus before you find someone who shares your vision and agrees to be your Advisor.It could be the first person you speak to or the twentieth.
  2. Even if you’re having a challenge initially, you will eventually find someone who is just as excited about your campus organization as you are – persistence will pay off!

Advisors Providing Personal Growth Opportunities

Personal growth is an important component of a University education. The academic process is certainly the key to collegiate success, but a well thought out co-curricular education contributes to success after college. Personal growth involves experiencing life: learning how to make wise decisions, understanding consequences, managing elusive time, and building strong relationships. Those skills enhance your ability to apply what you learn in the classroom not only to life, but to your future work.

The student organization structure on campus is designed to help students develop personal qualities normally not tested in the classroom. There are over 400 involvement opportunities to choose from. Your involvement tests your values; helps you set goals and examine beliefs; refines your communication skills; and extends other personal opportunities all within your personal interests. The organization is an arena to test and enhance your skills and involvement provides a sense of belonging and responsibility.

 Students can learn and have fun as a member or a leader. The first step is deciding to get involved. Assess your needs. Examine what the collegiate environment offers. Then choose how to participate. Take this selection seriously. Your dedication to the classroom and the extent of your co-curricular experience governs the direction of your college experience and, therefore, the degree of your personal growth.

Why Pay So Much Attention to Advising?

Research indicates that one of the most powerful influences on student persistence in college is individual attention from faculty members. This research shows that students frequently judge the worth of their academic experience from their interactions with faculty members. College presidents often rank advising as a leading factor in student retention, and improving advising has been one of the most frequently cited strategies to increase student retention in the past decade. Advising can positively influence the education and personal development of students.Advisor Requirements

Campus regulations applying to campus activities, recognized campus organizations, and students require that each campus organization have an advisor who is a UCSB regular faculty or career staff member.  Before making a commitment to be an organization advisor, it is important to carefully consider your desired level of involvement.  It is hoped, but not required, that an advisor will make commitment to two or three years in order to provide continuity to the organization. 

Any registered organization is required to have an advisor who is a member of the faculty or staff a resident assistant, or graduate teaching or research assistant/associate. Organizations that are unable to locate an advisor may have a member of the Office of Student Life staff serve as their temporary advisor.

Advisors should attend the regularly scheduled and special meetings of their respective organizations. Advisors should meet on a regular basis with executive officers of their organizations for the following purposes:

  1. To assist with the development of organizational programs.
  2. To discuss organizational goals and directions.
  3. To discuss the financial status of the organization including the identification of problems and their potential solutions, and the identification of financial strengths and means of perpetuating them. The Office of Student Life has fund-raising resources that can assist you with advising organizations on how they can increase their financial coffers.
  4. To discuss internal organizational difficulties (mission statements, motivation techniques communications, delegation of responsibilities, meeting management etc.) and to assist the officers with their resolution.
  5. To be available to meet with organization officers and/or members when they request your help.
  6. To be familiar with the organizations’ national structure and services, if applicable.
  7. To strongly encourage their respective organizations to adhere to the policies and rules of the University as well as obeying local and state statutes and laws.
  8. To provide constructive criticism when it is deemed necessary; likewise, positive organizational accomplishments should be appropriately acknowledged.
  9. To be aware of the fact that at times he/she will be called upon to serve as a personal confidant in

    organization-related matters. This is a particularly sensitive role. The advisor will want to provide assistance to the person seeking advice (usually in regard to a problematic situation). However, the advisor cannot compromise his/her relationship with the group by showing favoritism to one or a small group of persons.

  10. To have access to the University-maintained financial records of their respective organizations. These records should be periodically reviewed. Financial information is available at either the Office of Student Life bookkeeping or the Associated Students Finance Board.
  11. To understand that the association between advisors and their respective groups should continue as long as both parties believe the relationship is productive and mutually satisfactory. When such a relationship no longer exists, the advisor should resign and/or request a replacement.
  12. To engage in the general discussion of organizational matters at meetings, however, the advisor normally should not dominate discussions or become the focus of attention.

Optimally, an Organization Advisor:

  • Provides continuity and history to new members.
  • Assures that organization records are kept and passed on to new officers.
  • Helps to resolve conflict and gives advice on process or content.
  • Assists with meeting preparation.
  • Encourages organizational goal setting.
  • Assists in program planning.
  • Advises officer transition process.
  • Provides creative ideas and serves as a resource person.
  • Signs requisitions and attends meetings, when appropriate.
  • Gives positive and negative feedback.
  • Serves as a sounding board.

Email Template: Appointment Request


Dear (Dr./Ms./Mr)._____,

 I recently took on a leadership opportunity to serve as (officer position) for (campus organization name) to benefit the UC Santa Barbara community. (Insert campus organization mission/purpose/values/facts).

 I am looking for help and support for this organization and I thought you would be an excellent resource.  Please let me know when you are available because I am interested in meeting with you. Thank you in advance for taking time to review this email.  I look forward to hearing from you.


Your Name


Email Template: Appointment Request

Dear Dr., Ms./Mr. __________

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on ____________.  I really enjoyed our conversation and I can see us working well together.  If you should have any questions or would like to speak to The Office of Student Life before you make a decision, please reach out to me via email or telephone.

 I look forward to hearing from you by___________ if at all possible. Thank you again and have a great day!


 Your Name

If you do not hear from them by the date listed above, send the following email the next day.

 Dear Dr., Ms./Mr. __________

 Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on ____________.   I know that you have a busy schedule, and so I want to follow up with you regarding your decision about accepting the advisory role for the (campus organization name).  If you need more time, please let me know via email or telephone.

 Thank you again for considering the Advisor position.  Have a great day!


 Your Name