For Academic Counselors/Advisors

You’re Essential

Outside the college classroom, the most important educational activity is advising: both during high school that builds a study foundation and college where students often become very distracted and “academically dysfunctional.”

Teacher with studentWhen you advise students, you build a bridge— from the classes a student takes to the learning (studying) a student must do outside the classroom.

Advisers and counselors (A/Cs) help students understand the fundamentals:—

  • learning requires time and effort
  • academic success leads to job success
  • job success is a major factor in having a happy life
  • a college education is built on clear thinking and planning

My Big Pitch: We need a methodology

As a high school counselor or college advisor do you agree with me? Do you look at your job the way I looked at mine as the head of a university advising center?

Let me try to convince you that my College Smart® books will help you in a job that is most important for all students as well as their teachers and their schools as a whole.

My books are written for and to A/Cs as much as for students.

I think of the College Smart® Strategies as a guide to Advising/Counseling methodology.
It’s based on 12 concrete keys to learning success.

This is how/why I wrote my books. I was in my doctor’s office for a semiannual check-up. Like all MDs, he has a methodology and speaks it to me as he checks me out.

  • Blood pressure: good.
  • Blood test: good, but drink more water.
  • Weight: need more exercise and better diet.
  • Breathing: clear.
  • Heart rate: strong.
  • Eyes: “look straight ahead”, etc.”

That’s when the light in my head turned on. I said to myself that I would do a better and more efficient job advising if I had a clearer methodology, AND if students (like me as a patient) knew what it was. Be on the same page, so to speak.

So early on in my career as dean of academic advising at Marquette University, I created a check list for each student I advised.

When I created my 12 keys to success, my methodology transformed…

I moved from talking about learning/study habits (which students like least these days) to where do you see yourself going? (what are your career plans?). And just like my MD, together, we’d emphasize which of the 12 strategies need work.

The methodology kept me on a constant, clear, and efficient track. And students with the methodology checklist in their hands saw much better what a Going Places Student needs to understand — what exactly they need to do and/or improve.

In the worst case scenarios, the students in deepest trouble would see, right in their hands, why things are so bad.

Not Just for Students, a daily structure for you

So while my books “speak” very personally to all students, high school and college, I wrote all three College Smart® books as a working guide for counselors and advisers as well.

I know your economic plight

I used to fight my university each year to spend more money an academic advising. So I know what a hard job you’d have convincing your school administrators (the folks who control money) to put College Smart® books in the hands of students and A/Cs.

But I was persistent.

Finally, they gave me the okay to set up a University Advising Center and staff it with full-time advisers. The reason they gave in? Graduation rates were so low that the powers that be felt more accountability pressure. (The pressure came mainly from parents.)

Also, more and more schools see advising and counseling as a “right” every student should have.

So there you are. Have I convinced you that the “Dr. Bob’s” methodology—  laid out  in the College Smart® books — might cast a new light on your career advising efforts and as a guide for academically counseling individual students? With both you and they on the same “College Smart”® wave length, you can’t go wrong.

Get in Touch with Me

Email me if you have questions. We can start a conversation. I’d be happy to tell you more.

And if we discover you’re within in my driving distance, I’d be glad to come to your school for the cost of lunch!


Adopted school-wide, College Smart® and Start College Smart® can give your school or college one voice in conveying the expectations and standards to be met in the classroom—and outside the classroom.




Working students

If I’ve gotten your attention and interest, read on for more back ground of my College Smart® philosophy and books.

There are a couple other books out there about getting ready for college. Mine’s the best. I’m not just bragging. Mine is based on 25 years of experience advising thousands of students and creating several key advising programs. Making notes along the way, I really started writing my book in 1980.

The Bad Old Days

When I became an Assistant Dean for academic advising at Marquette University, “advising students” meant “Make sure those freshmen are taking the right courses in their first college semester!”

After that first semester, students were on their own unless they appeared in my office in dire straits to get advice from a “dean.”

Over the years things have changed. There are college advising programs. Full-time advisors. And deans like me creating and conducting various advising programs

I have talked to many high school counselors. (as well as my sons and their friends and our neighbors’ teens) So I know that over the years, high school counseling has remained pretty much the same. Too many students, too few counselors, too little time.

Why so much disinterest?

It took me several years to figure out why school administrators place advising so very low on their list of “Things To Do today.” It comes from creating an image, one that announces to parents, students, other schools, and the nearby community, etc. that this school has excellent students, teachers and courses A through Z.

If too much emphasis is given to advising and counseling, that image fades. “Our students are so good they don’t need much help at all. We want them to work out problems on their own. That’s how they develop a sense of independence.”

As you know, there are so many things wrong with that “philosophy” it would take all of who-knows-how-long to list them, much less convince “image makers” that they are wrong. And social media is only one part of an extremely complicated problem.

All students need advice and counsel through their education. As advisers and counselors we know that does not mean “telling students what to do.” We want students to figure things out on their own as we guide them. Now that’s how students develop a sense of independence.

And that’s why all students need guidance whether they are slipping into some learning black hole or are deciding which colleges to apply to. or what career direction they should take.


Over the years, I have discovered that advisers and counselors in general want students to express questions and figure out answers on their own, thus making academic advising and counseling a matter of guidance. I have also learned that students better accept guidance when both students and their advisers and counselors are on the same page. Literally on the same page.

That’s why I wrote my College Smart® books. They present every dimension of a student’s academic development one-by-one. They fall into 12 categories.

When both advisers/counselors and students see learning as a broad panorama, their communication is immediate.

I believe that my College Smart™ books keep everyone on the same track, with the same directions, and the same goals — especially in trying to connect today’s everyday accomplishments and challenges in a classroom in terms of careers in the future.

Are we all on the same page?

If I were a high school principal or a college president, I would have all my counselors, advisers, and students use my College Smart® books. Am I personally looking for fame and fortune? Honestly, I’m not. If I knew everyone in every school had my book close to them, I would take my name off the book covers and give them away at cost. The nation needs them. (See the Career-Smart® tab on the website.)

I was a college advising dean for 25 years. I have spent five years writing my books so that they are perfectly easy to read and use. Whatever your position is as a college adviser or high school counselor, take a close look at my books. You’ll see right off that they cast new lights on every goal you have to see your students and your school succeed.

Again, I’m right here in my home office writing another book.

I invite you to call me or email me at with your questions. I’d love to hear from you.



Get College Smart!®