Mandatory Advising Across College Types

Is advising mandatory for undergraduate students?  Chart showing percentage break-outs for whether advising is mandatory at small 2-year colleges, mid-large 2-year colleges, small public 4-year colleges, mid-large 4-year public institutions, small 4-yr private institutions, and mid-large 4-yr private institutions, plus the combined totals. Results show 60% saying yes, 26% showing yes for some, and 15% showing no.

Chart showing percentage break-outs for whether advising is mandatory at small 2-yr colleges, mid-large 2-yr colleges, small public 4-yr colleges, mid-large 4-yr publics, small 4-yr privates, & mid-large 4-yr privates plus the combined totals, which show 60% saying yes, 26% showing yes for some, 15% showing no.

Source: From p. 52 of Bryant, G., Callahan, A., Seaman, J., & Hornstein, J. (2016) Driving toward a degree: Establishing a baseline on integrated approaches to planning and advising. Boston, MA & Stamford, CT: Tyton Partners. Survey was conducted among higher education administrators, faculty, and advisors at a range of institution types in November 2015.


  1. I agree — very interesting data. I’d bet a big part of the reason mandatory advising is less frequent at community colleges is due to budget constraints. When one hears the horror stories from places like Arizona concerning what the state legislature has done to community college funding (completely eliminating it in some cases!), I’m sure there are tough choices about what must be cut just to keep the doors open.

    This is doubly distressing because it would seem community college students are often most in need of advising: returning to school, for instance, after a decade or two away from a college campus surely adds to the need for advising.

  2. It seems that mandatory advising has become more popular in recent years. These are some very interesting statistics and they make me wonder about the differences between student populations and their trends at different types of institutions of higher education. It makes sense that 4-year schools would make advising mandatory more often due to the idea that there is likely a higher percentage of traditional college students in those settings vs. community colleges where more independent non-traditional students are more likely attend. It also begs the question: Do community college students require less advisement? In addition, I would be interested in also knowing the level of engagement with respect to their own learning (i.e. creating plans of study and self-enrollment). Are students actively engaging in their plans of study or are they being told what to take? Very interesting!

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