Taking Appointment Notes

Advising notes provide a historical record of communication between students and faculty which provide support throughout a student’s academic career. 

Descriptive notes provide benefits like: 

  • Help remember what was discussed or agreed to during prior appointments
  • Help advisors and other support staff communicate and provide consistent service 
  • Create a history of contacts, actions, recommendations, and other information
  • Personalize the experience by reviewing what was covered in prior meetings
Appointments Notes are Shared Notes

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) entitles students to access any notes considered part of their academic record, including notes in Advisor Trac. 

Any notes completed in Advisor Trac are part of the student’s academic record and are accessible by students, open records request, and court subpoenas. 

Assume students, parents or other members of WSU will read what you document.

How to Take Helpful Notes

When documenting notes, briefly summarize what was discussed as it relates to academic advising, student success, or other campus policies or procedures.

Make sure you cover these four areas in your advising notes:

  • Document why the student was seeking help and listen for the intention/purpose of the appointment
  • Provide advising or guidance as appropriate
  • List what recommendations/referrals were made to address concerns and support success
  • Identify the agreed upon follow-up actions or referrals

Step 1. Listen to Student’s Concerns

Ask open questions and give students time to formulate a response. Try to understand the purpose of the meeting, or why the student has asked to meet with you.

Step 2. Gather Information, Then Advise 

Make conversation and ask questions to start the advising appointment, then provide guidance accordingly. 

Depending on their concerns, you might also refer a student to the Warrior Success Center, Counseling Services, TRIO, Warrior Hub or any of the other available support services

Step 3. Follow Through on Next Steps

Be sure to follow through on any information you agreed to provide. This could include an email with clarification on graduation requirements or follow up on transcript evaluation. 

Example Notes

  • “Contacted department chair with student, confirmed application deadline and emailed app to student”
  • “Contacted HUB with student, transcript evaluation done next week, gave student HUB contact info”
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