Skip to main content
Academic advising has long been a staple of Higher Education at many institutions. The role of the personal tutor has been questioned and reaffirmed and redefined many times, over multiple decades of transformation in Higher Ed. But for most, the benefits of the academic advisor are undisputable.  

Academic advisors play a crucial role in helping students develop and succeed academically and personally during their time at university.

Meeting with a personal tutor or advisor gives students the opportunity to discuss academic issues, learn about available university resources and build a stronger connection to their university or course. However, recent research shows that nearly half of students lack academic guidance.

Why is Academic Advising so Important in the Current Age of Education?  

The current state of Higher Education and the key challenges the sector is facing, makes academic advising all the more important. Some major concerns surround student retention, student mental health, and equitable access. Institutions are struggling to address these issues before they result in further student disengagement, lower completion rates and a wider achievement gap.  

The personal tutor offers a solution by facilitating early interventions with at-risk students and raising awareness of available resources. But in the age of the personalised learning and support that students are looking for, many complain about ‘generic support’ from academic advisors. Institutions need to put proactive and personalised interventions in place to address this.  

Personal Tutor Meeting

What is Data-Driven Academic Advising?

To fill the need for proactive and personalised interventions, institutions have begun to look to the ‘data-driven tutor’. Data-driven academic advising involves the use of learning analytics. This delivers real-time information to personal tutors that can enable more effective, personalised communications with students.  

As student expectations change, academic advisors are left under pressure to deliver more individual experiences. However, they are finding themselves without the resources to do so. Data-driven academic advising works by consolidating student data from multiple different systems into one place – usually within a dynamic data dashboard– and using learning analytics to monitor student progression and engagement, quickly identifying students at-risk.  

Colleges & Universities are huge repositories of data. However, only recently are they working to systemically use data to improve academic advising and increase student success.

The Future of AdvisingThe Chronicle of Higher Education
With real-time insights available, personal tutors can deliver effective interventions for students at-risk. In turn, this will improve institution retention and completion rates. In addition, they can deliver more personalised experiences and support for all students.
This will drive improvements in student grades, sense of belonging and engagement with their studies. Having an understanding of an individual student’s needs, is critical to the effectiveness of today’s personal tutor.

The Benefits of the Data-Driven Personal Tutor

The benefits of data-driven academic advising are not just theoretical either. Many case studies, research projects and more have confirmed the benefits of using data to improve academic advising.  These findings show it also ultimately, improves student outcomes.

As a result, where institutions battle with some of the biggest issues facing education, not looking to the data-driven academic advisor as a solution would be a critical error.