Advising and Sense of Belonging

Advisors Help Students Feel a Sense of Belonging at the Institution

Figure 1. Average Sense of Belonging by Response to LRC Items for SeniorsGo to an accessible table for results in figure 1.

Our first Engagement Insights story, Building a Sense of Community for All, demonstrates the importance that students have a sense of belonging at their institution. On average, students whose advising interactions involved higher levels of listening, respect, and care (LRC) expressed a higher sense of belonging (Figure 1). Students experiencing "very little" LRC have a mean sense of belonging score of approximately 30 or below for each LRC item, whereas students experiencing "very much" LRC have mean sense of belonging scores above 45. First-year students (not shown) have similar results.

You knew that she genuinely cared about each and every student she advised.

Senior majoring in Computer Science at Fayetteville State University

Connecting students’ sense of belonging with advisors’ interpersonal attentiveness suggests the value of advisors’ role in reaching out to students to help them feel they belong to the school community. Advisors can make it routine practice to ask students if there are places within the institution or campus environment where they feel comfortable being themselves and how they are connected in the campus community. This is particularly relevant for students from diverse backgrounds who may need to find safe spaces within the community for cultural acceptance and expression.

Evidence-Based Improvement in Higher Education

Center for Postsecondary Research
Indiana University School of Education
201 N. Rose Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-1006
Phone: 812.856.5824