Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Advising and Student Support Services

The importance of advising should not be underestimated. DeSouza1 states that "Academic advisors can play an integral role in promoting student success by assisting students in ways that encourage them to engage in the right kinds of activities, inside and outside the classroom." Light2 supports that notion, noting further that "Good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience."

For more information on advising, please refer to Indicator 7 in the Indicators of Program Quality.

Advising for Out-of-School Youth

ACLS requires that adult education staff, typically the education and career advisor, meet with all students aged 16 to 223 to discuss the students' educational options (i.e., adult education, return to K–12) prior to enrolling. In the event that a student wishes and is eligible to return to K–12, the advisor will work with the school to facilitate the student's re-entry into the K–12 system. For students age 16–24, the education and career advisor will provide students with up-to-date written information about the Title I youth programs and services offered by partners in the local area. In the event that a student expresses an interest, the advisor will work with the partner(s) to facilitate access to programs and services.

Advising for Parents and Family Members

Adult education students who have education and career goals may also want to set goals in their roles as parents and family members. A young mother, for example, may have a goal of obtaining her high school equivalency credential and going on to community college at the same time she wants to help her daughter be ready for kindergarten, communicate effectively with her daughter's teacher, and/or attend parent-teacher conferences. Programs may integrate family goals into advising materials and tools they are already using or provide separate materials and tools.

Students who choose not to set education and career goals may wish to develop a family education plan focused on their goals as parents or family members. These students must still have the option to add education and career goals to their family education plans at any time.

Professional Development

Advising Professional Development is provided by the SABES Program Support PD Center. Visit their webpage for workshops, peer sharing and learning, resources, and guidance on topics such as student persistence, college and career navigation, mental health, and first aid. The website also has a Calendar of events, including regional Advisor Sharing Group meetings, and a resource library.

Effective Practices Aligned with Indicator of Program Quality (IPQ) #7 Guide

Advising and Support Services Guide

In an effort to assist agency directors, coordinators, advisors, and program staff with enhancing advising services, the SABES Program Support PD Center has developed the Effective Practices Aligned with Indicator of Program Quality (IPQ) #7 guide . The Guide aligns with IPQ #7, Advising and Support Services, of the Indicators of Program Quality for Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions and includes examples of effective practices for each of the indicator's standards. ACLS encourages adult education agencies to use the guide to review and evaluate current advising and support services policies and practices.


1 DeSousa, D.J. (2005). On course: Strategies for creating success in college and in life (4th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

2 Light, R. (2001). Making the most of college. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

3 22 is the maximum age limit to which free education must be offered.

Last Updated: July 20, 2022

 
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