A Look at Academic Success Coaching: Impact on the adult student

Dezi Waterhouse


Innovation in higher education is ongoing and includes specific, defined interactions with adult students beyond the classroom. Specifically, the model for academic advising has changed, and yet vestiges of the old way have remained for more than 144 years. This legacy is to the detriment of the adults.

Advising has been present in higher education since 1870 when electives were introduced to university curricula. [1] The time has come to move away from the antiquated advising approach to a system of deliberate, strategic and coordinated coaching. According to the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), academic advising is defined as, “when an institutional representative gives insight or direction to a college student about an academic, social, or personal matter.”[2] Academic advising is reactive, where all advising activities are triggered by some catalyst. Since advising is brought on by a stimulus, this partnership is infrequent and inconsistent. Research has shown that, for an adult student, this model alone is ineffective and does not promote retention, persistence or graduation. [3, 4]



The article is focused on the idea of academic success coaching as a replacement for traditional advising, particularly in regards to adult students. The author lists the external factors that can hinder an adult student from successfully completing college. Research indicates that adult students might feel and act underprepared for higher education, thus, their decision-making regarding academics is largely based on convenience (e.g., online or weeknight classes). Adult students need concentrated attention to assist them in circumventing the external forces that might impede their success. As a result, academic success coaching can provide an effective strategy for assisting adult students in strengthening their confidence to academically succeed.

In the article, academic success coaching is seen as a helpful strategy for adult students because it builds an ongoing relationship between student and coach. The author also argues that academic success coaching is more effective than advising because it is a proactive approach rather than a reactive one. The author explains, “Whether ensuring students understand how to use the electronic services through detailed hands-on review or helping them develop goals and action plans with regard to degree completion and career planning, the coach helps the student evaluate how the decisions they make now affect their future goals...In order to guide the student through the obstacle the coach needs to identify the full scope of the issue through motivational interviewing and proactive advising.” The author further explains that academic success coaching “is the cumulative processes of proactive communication, meaningful dialogue, problem solving, strategic planning, follow-up, and continual real-time revision of a student’s plans and goals.”

APA Citation

Evolllution.com (2014, November 13). A look at academic success coaching: Impact on the adult student. Retrieved from: https://evolllution.com/opinions/academic-success-coaching-impact-adult-student/

About the Study

Links to Article https://evolllution.com/opinions/academic-success-coaching-impact-adult-student/
Publication Type Website
In Publication Evolllution.com
Type of Research Review of literature
Research Design Not applicable
Intervention/Areas of Study Student support, Tutoring or academic support
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Unknown
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest
Student Sample Size
Citing Articles