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Online Advising Strategies

Sample Text Regarding Online Advising

Sample email announcing alternative appointment options

Subject: Online Advising Options for Undergraduate Students

Dear #preferredname#,

The health and wellbeing of our students and staff are extremely important to us. I am writing to
share alternative options for in-person meetings for the remainder of the semester.

I will be offering students who are ill or away from campus the opportunity to either:

  • Conduct your scheduled advising appointment via Zoom
  • Conduct your scheduled advising appointment via phone
  • If ill, reschedule your advising appointment for a later date

To take advantage these appointment options, please contact me directly. Because your advising
appointment involves a discussion of your academic progress, please take steps to ensure privacy
during the meeting.

Advisor Sig Line

Sample email announcing office working remotely

The Marshall Undergraduate Advising & Student Affairs Office in JFF 201 is closed physically, but we are open online and operating via online platforms with staff working remotely.  Although in-person drop-in advising will be suspended, academic advisement appointments will be available via Zoom. To schedule an advisement appointment, please call our office (213-740-0690) during business hours (M-F 8:30-5). When calling during business hours, do not hang up—please wait for your call to be forwarded.

We are also available to answer questions via email; students may email their advisor directly or email In addition, students can utilize online resources such as their STARS report (on OASIS), their most recent course plan (Undergraduate Advisement widget on myUSC), and our website.

Your health and wellbeing are important to us, and we are here to support you as we adapt to this unprecedented and continually evolving situation. We appreciate your patience and flexibility and will notify you as soon as possible if there are any changes regarding our services.

Sample text for department websites regarding working remotely


Due to the USC Provost Memo regarding COVID-19, all in person Dornsife Advising appointments have moved to Phone or Video Conference advising appointments effective Monday March 16, 2020. The steps to schedule an appointment with an academic advisor remain the same: please use the advisor link to schedule an appointment; the advisor will contact the student at the time of the appointment.

For questions, please contact the Dornsife Advising Office via telephone at 213-740-2534 or by email at For additional information regarding the USC COVID-19 response, please look at the following website:

Protecting Student Privacy

How can I protect my student’s privacy during a online advising appointment?

When scheduling the meeting, remind the student to secure a private space for your discussion.

  1. Ensure that you have a private space for the discussion, and use headphones as necessary.
  2. Before starting the meeting, ask the student if they are in a private space that will allow for confidentiality.
    • If the answer is yes, confirm they are comfortable conducting a online advising appointment, and then proceed with the meeting.
    • If the answer is no, encourage them to relocate to a private space before you begin the meeting.  If a private space is not available, a phone conversation is recommended instead.
  3. After the meeting, note in the student’s record that they “agreed to a zoom or phone advising session and confidentiality was maintained throughout the session.”
  4. Do not record the session.  Advising appointments are confidential conversations and should not be recorded.

Wellness Resources

USC Student Health Center Ways to Stay Well during Stressful Times (includes instructions use TeleHealth signups for counselor support; added 3/23/2020)

NACADA Advising in Times of Disruption Document (live updates; external link)

USC’s Keep Working Resource

Community Resources Flyer-can be posted on social media with the following language:

Your health and safety are our top priorities and we are committed to supporting you during this time of transition.  We understand that every students’ situation is different and have put together the attached local list of resources in our nearby Los Angeles community.  We encourage you to reach out to us if the resources attached do not meet your specific needs.  You can reach our USC Student Basic Needs team at for additional support.