Counselor vs Advisors

What is the difference between a Counselor and an Advisor?

Counselors are professionally trained to address personal issues, resolve academic anxieties, assist students in choosing career fields and majors, and problem solve other academic difficulties. With students on restricted academic or financial aid status, counselors work to develop individual success plans, which address the specific issues inhibiting academic success.

Advisors specialize in matters pertaining to your educational program: college policies, placement/assessment test interpretation, degree requirements, transferability, schedule planning, and graduation checks. Faculty performs ongoing advising. Every effort is made to match degree seeking students with faculty from areas of particular interest to the individual advisee.

Within Stensland Hall, we have both counselors and advisors available to assist you. Although counselors often advise students, advisors are not trained to counsel. Please be sure to make clear what kind of assistance you need when requesting an appointment. If you're not sure, someone will be happy to help you decide.

Advisors and Counselors can help you with the following issues:


  • Provide short term personal counseling for issues that may interfere with studies
  • Facilitate decision making on educational and career goals
  • Facilitate college adjustment for in-coming freshmen (homesickness, time management, depression, anxiety)
  • Facilitate college adjustment for returning adult students (balancing roles of student, parent, spouse, and/or employee).
  • Mediate conflicts in student housing
  • Teach coping skills and stress management
  • Provide crisis counseling
  • Develop individualized retention interventions
  • Interpret career inventories
  • Teach Human Development Classes


  • Help you pick your classes
  • Facilitate educational transactions; e.g., schedules, drop/adds, withdrawals, change of major, waivers, graduation requirements, etc.
  • Clarify instructional policies, procedures and requirements
  • Provide general information on special services including academic remediation, admission, placement testing, courses of study, and registration
  • Explain course transfer differences between institutions
  • Interpret placement scores and recommend appropriate classes.

Questions!Who do I turn to?


  • Which classes are recommended based on my placement test results?
  • Could someone look at my transcript and see if I'm selecting the right courses?
  • How many classes should I take if I work part-time?
  • Which courses at Southwestern are transferable to the university I plan to attend?
  • What is the difference between an Associate's degree and a Baccalaureate degree?
  • Is there a book that gives information about colleges throughout the United States?


  • Are there tests I can take that will help me select a major or career?
  • Is there a way for me to manage my home and school obligations more efficiently?
  • How can I prevent getting so stressed out before taking tests?
  • What should I do? I'm having problems at home that interfere with my studies.
  • What can I do? I can't concentrate and I can't seem to sleep at night.
  • What should I do? Nothing seems to go right and no one really cares.

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