Academic Advising as Intervention for Enhancing the Academic Success of “At-Risk Students” at a Comprehensive University in South Africa

Benita P Nel


This article explores the role of an Academic Advising programme based on personal exchanges between academic staff member and students in enhancing the latter’s academic success. The contribution focuses specifically on the relevance of “Academic Advising” as an innovative strategy for boosting the academic performance of extended diploma programme students. This strategy responds to the imperative to design appropriate interventions to effectively assist with increasing the academic success of students from disadvantaged school backgrounds, who are considered “at-risk” especially in their first year. Put differently, Academic Advising is an intervention aimed at identifying these “at-risk” students early in their first year of study, and supporting them holistically with the view to increasing “access for success” in Higher Education. Interviews with staff members and students are used to elicit both parties’ experience of the particular intervention. It is shown that the success of this intervention is strongly linked to academic staff’s ability to identify the personal struggles of individual students, namely, accommodation issues, reading and language challenges, and lack of career guidance. Besides improving students’ academic performance, this intervention will create a sense of accomplishment, increased enthusiasm and confidence among these students, who did not initially meet the minimum entry requirements for Higher Education.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n27p732

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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