Advising and guidance

Advising/guidance refers to all activities aimed at enabling the future student or current to plan and manage their learning in a manner consistent with personal life goals and making full use of individual skills and interests in order to achieve personal fulfilment.
Depending on the moment in the university course when these activities are implemented, a distinction is made between: advising/guidance carried out before choosing a course of study, which is aimed at prospective first year students and offers support in identifying the course to be undertaken on the basis of individual interests, expectations and aptitudes. In this phase, the various possible scenarios are presented to the future student and the alternatives of the university pathway are illustrated; advising/guidance carried out during the university career, aimed at enrolled students and designed to guide them within the degree courses already undertaken, enabling them to establish a better interaction with the structures and the university context; advising/guidance carried out close to or after graduation, it is aimed at graduates or graduating students and aims to facilitate their introduction into the working environment.


Advising/guidance actions play a decisive role in the complex and articulated process of higher education of the new generations. The choice of a university study path is indeed a very delicate moment in the life of the student who has to make a conscious choice in order to build his or her own life project; shortcomings in entry guidance contribute to an increase in the number of study drop-outs, as well as to slowing down student careers by disproportionately increasing the time it takes to obtain a degree.
The first entry into university is therefore an extremely delicate phase of a student's education, as evidenced by the fact that most drop-outs occur during the first year of enrolment. It is therefore extremely important for the university to organise, at this stage, activities capable of supporting one of the most delicate passages in a young person's training career, through assistance and information services aimed at alleviating perplexities and uncertainties related to the impact with the university world.
The University of Parma pays particular attention to advising/guidance projects aimed at high school students, in order to promote an accurate and in-depth knowledge of the University's course catalogue and, at the same time, to stimulate conscious choices of their university career also through appropriate preparatory activities aimed at verifying the possession of the knowledge and/or skills or the adjustment of personal preparation necessary for access to degree courses.
At the same time, advising/guidance activities, in addition to focusing on investigations into the motivations and expectations of incoming students, contemplate the use of innovative teaching experiences, as a function of advising/guidance itself, in order to achieve career regularity. With this in mind, the service is aimed at strengthening the tools for assessing students' incoming skills, particularly for those degree courses that show a high drop-out rate.
The procedures for enrolling, admitting students and managing their careers are set out in the Study Prospectus and the University's Academic Regulations and communicated through specific sections of the University website; a specific section of the University portal is dedicated to new students:
University of Parma the world that awaits you. An important network of activities and services, described in the document University Policy for Student Services and coordinated by the Delegate for advising/guidance, is constantly updated and optimised to accompany students throughout their university career, from advising/guidance to tutoring, internships and apprenticeships to job internship, taking into account the dynamic needs of students, the University's strategies and the opportunities offered by national or regional calls for advising/guidance.
In order to facilitate students in their studies and to develop their soft skills, the university has adopted a number of special regulations such as, for instance, the Regulations for the registration of part-time students, the Regulations for free participation activities and the Regulations for the activation and management of an alias career for course units in gender transition. The university pays particular attention to the problems of students with disabilities, so much so that since 2000 it has set up a support unit for vulnerable groups and students with disabilities, specific learning difficulties and special educational needs, called Le Eli Che, currently within the Unit. Grants, Right to Study and Student Welfare. Recently implemented is the establishment of the Prison University Pole with the aim of fostering the right to study of those in a state of restriction of personal liberty. A specific mentoring activity is planned for high-level student athletes.
The actions implemented by the University are reported annually in the Performance Report document and are monitored annually in a report by the Rector's delegates.
For the reception of foreign students, a number of activities have been launched that can be consulted on the English version of the university website. In order to promote the recruitment of foreign students, the university has stepped up its reception activities, as well as supporting them in finding accommodation and lodging, and is testing the feasibility of establishing a Foundation Year, a preparatory training course for foreign students with less than 12 years of schooling.
In general, the advising/guidance service consists of guaranteeing all the activities related to the advising/guidance processes for students, supporting future students and their families in making informed choices of the university pathway, and welcoming students, including foreign students, into the university environment.
The main activities of the Unit Guidance and advising are carried out in support of and in close collaboration with the teachers delegated for advising/guidance, appointed for each degree course, and range from the organisation of and participation in advising/guidance meetings held at upper secondary schools to the organisation of educational visits to Departments, aimed at helping students in the final years of upper secondary schools choose their degree course, from participation in national advising/guidance fairs, organised in various locations throughout Italy, to collaboration in the organisation of the "Studiare a Parma" (Study in Parma) open days, held annually at the University in the spring, and the "From High School State Exam to University" info days, held annually at the University in the summer, to coincide with the opening of enrolment.
It is also worth mentioning the dissemination of information to prospective new students on how to access degree courses, the care of projects in collaboration with upper secondary schools as part of advising/guidance activities, support for the structures involved in 'Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro' courses and the holding of information and advising/guidance interviews for students and families; finally, the service handles the management of advising/guidance processes for enrolled students, in collaboration with the teaching staff and the psychological counselling service.
In connection with high schools, the university has launched a series of specific projects involving school teachers in coordination with UNIPR professors/instructors with a view to supporting the preparation of school students for university enrolment.
These projects specifically are:
-CORDA Project, established in 2001 as an advising/guidance initiative for students in their last year of some high schools who intended to undertake studies at the Faculty of Engineering in Parma, now extended to all the University's scientific courses; - Scientific Degrees Plan (PLS), established in 2004 with the aim of combating the growing disaffection of young people towards scientific disciplines. At UNIPR, PLS is divided into different subject areas:
-Biology and Biotechnology ; - Chemistry ; - Geology ; - Physics ; - Mathematics .
The reception of foreign students and refugees deserves a particular mention: over the years it has become increasingly important within the objectives that the University has set itself, also from an administrative point of view, especially with regard to the evaluation of foreign qualifications that students submit upon enrolment and which, in some cases, they send before arriving in Italy for prior evaluation for admission to Second-Cycle Degree Courses. With regard to the delicate and current context of the refugee situation, the university recently joined the National Coordination on the Evaluation of Refugee Qualifications (CNVQR) with which the MIUR, with the support of the CIMEA, has set itself the objective of providing universities with useful tools to proceed with the recognition of the qualifications of refugees with little or no documentation. The University of Parma, within the framework of this project, which is also part of the University Plan for Refugees, has been able to transpose precise notions on the procedure to be followed in cases of poor or absent documentation, establishing important contacts with other universities and with CIMEA staff, for fruitful cooperation. Based on this protocol, the Unit Careers and Services for Students provides accommodation for refugees with confirmed status, as well as asylum seekers. For everyone, i.e. both those with recognised refugee status and those with a status that is not yet final and with partial or deficient documentation, the qualifications submitted are assessed. In this context, numerous talks are scheduled, both with students and with the mediators of the associations, as well as with the Presidents of the Degree Councils to which the students approach, and with ER.GO for possible benefits.
In addition to all these centrally coordinated activities, there are other actions implemented on the direct initiative of individual departments, degree courses and their delegates. These initiatives take the form of internships activated at individual departments by the guidance delegates of the various degree courses and take place over one or more days; the relevant information is collected in a digital brochure published annually on the website; the same brochure is sent by email, through direct contact with school guidance directors and teachers, to all schools in the catchment area (Parma and neighbouring provinces as well as other provinces in which guidance meetings are organised in schools or where guidance fairs are held).
In addition to internships, it is worth mentioning the more specific initiatives organised directly by professors/lecturers (not necessarily delegated for guidance). These actions are thematic and are once again aimed at high school students in order to provide them with further information on study paths leading to more or less 'canonical' professional profiles.
In addition, it was also intended to conceive advising/guidance as a function of the choice of Second-Cycle Degree Course, so as to orient it, favouring vocation and talent, through more intensive contacts with students enrolled in first degree courses.
Lastly, it seems appropriate, in this context, to mention the Customer Satisfaction project undertaken by the University of Parma, capable of allowing, among other things, the assessment of the effectiveness of advising/guidance actions, an open issue and not entirely resolved in the national panorama, in order to allow a more conscious and targeted choice on the part of students and, in particular, to verify that advising/guidance actions are productive, not so much in terms of attractiveness to the University, but in terms of improving the performance of students who then matriculate at the University of Parma.
Advising/guidance activities are supported by the organisation of university-wide information and presentation days for the degree courses (Open Day, 7 April 2020, InfoDay, 13 July 2020).
The course also offers the possibility of specific advising/guidance talks to be arranged with the Department contact person for advising/guidance or with other course professors/instructors.

Advising/guidance and tutoring

The service is intended to support the proper integration of students into the degree course through, in particular, specific tutoring activities aimed at students enrolled in the first year of the course, as well as to encourage effective career progression by students through, in particular, assistance in the compilation of individual programmes of study, ongoing guidance activities aimed at encouraging students to choose the degree course most suited to their characteristics, as well as remedial activities for students experiencing difficulties.

In parallel with strengthening the tools for assessing students' incoming skills, particularly for those with a high dropout rate, the university provides remedial teaching actions and ensures adequate tutoring services throughout the university course, calibrated taking into account the assessment mechanisms of the degree courses, in order to pursue the result of improving their quality, by providing tutors for each individual degree course.

Advising/guidance and in itinere tutoring, therefore, take on particular significance in view of the growing importance of the improvement and success, from an educational point of view, of regularly enrolled students, an aspect that cannot, however, disregard the initial level of basic skills of incoming students, which contributes significantly to the underperformance of enrolled students. In order to improve specific performance, the university has set out to develop a series of actions aimed at integrating and strengthening the core subject areas, as well as implementing supplementary preparatory courses for examinations. In this sense, educational tutoring is able to facilitate the completion of studies on time and, in particular, reduce drop-outs in the first year. The aim is to guide and assist students throughout their studies, to make them active participants in the educational process, to remove obstacles to successful attendance, including through initiatives tailored to the needs, aptitudes and requirements of individuals. The in itinere guidance and tutoring service, therefore, takes the form of support and assistance to students enrolled in degree courses, diversified according to the needs of the users and adapted to changing needs. In particular, the activities implemented, carried out by professors/instructors embedded in the degree courses, concern the dissemination of information, reception, support and tutoring to help students during their education. More specifically, the activities carried out include advising on the drawing up of programmes of study and on issues relating to prerequisites, how to attend courses, tutorials and laboratory activities, the cultural and professional advising/guidance of students, the promotion of their participation in national and international exchange or mobility programmes, as well as the referral to appropriate support structures in the event of any difficulties or situations of psychological distress.

In this context, services to students that contribute to their cultural and scientific education and facilitate their entry into the world of work are favoured and strengthened, with the aim of offering students the opportunity to acquire certified supplementary skills during their chosen training pathway.

In connection with high schools, the University of Parma has launched a specific project involving school teachers in coordination with university teaching staff with a view to supporting the preparation of students enrolled in the first or second year who need disciplinary reinforcement. The IDEA Project ( and, aimed at Didactic Integration through Assisted Exercises, is in fact an initiative that aims at the realisation of an operational link between high school and university, for a fruitful connection between secondary school and university teaching, as an effective means of reducing student difficulties and drop-out phenomena and is operational in various mathematical, scientific and humanistic fields.

Tutoring and tutorials also make it possible to support both the process aimed at increasing the number of students who enrol in the second year of the same degree class or single-cycle degree having acquired an adequate number of university ECTS credits in relation to the cohort of enrolled students in the previous academic year, and the process aimed at increasing the number of graduates who obtain their final degree within the normal duration of the degree course.

In addition, it was also intended to design the tutoring as a function of the choice of a Second-Cycle Degree Course, so as to orientate it, favouring vocation and talent, through more intensive contacts with students, school heads and the outgoing guidance delegates of upper secondary schools.
advising/guidance and ongoing tutoring are provided by a course professor/instructor, specifically delegated for these aspects.
The degree course has also identified a tutor from among the able and deserving students for advising/guidance and in-process tutoring activities.