NCT: Your advisor in the palm of your hand


By Thomas Scott

Students will soon have a new way to connect with their advisors. A new Web-based service called Notice-Choose-Tell will soon become available to students.

According to NCT coordinator Phil Heusser, the service is “a very practical tool, that is simple and easy to use” that’s “very user friendly.”

The online service relies upon what Heusser describes as “a series of prompts that help students investigate their strengths and interests, and assists them in making more intentional choices about their lives at Union and beyond.”

NCT mainly uses three prompts: Notice, Choose and Tell. Each NCT prompt will help students better communicate with their faculty advisors about their interests in order to discern possible future academic and career plans.

According to the NCT website, a Notice prompt allows users to relate information about themselves in order to “help (them) make wise decisions about (their) future” as well as “reflect on what (they) like to do, what (they) are good at doing, (as well as) what strengths they have to offer.” The Notice prompt is denoted by a blue box and eye logo. The feature invites users to “notice what they care about.”

The Choose prompt asks users to pick “priorities for their education” and is characterized by a green box and a pin logo on the NCT website.

The Choose option also asks users to examine potential academic routes.

A Choose prompt addresses “the kinds of academic programs and supporting activities that will best guide (a student’s) path forward,” according to the service’s website.

For Notice and Choose prompts, a user can pick from a variety of questions to answer.

One Notice prompt states that “there are lots of different reasons people choose a particular academic subject to study. Write about 2-3 subjects you chose to study. What caused you to make these choices? How do you feel now about those choices you made?”

A Tell prompt, however, which is denoted by a square-shaped word bubble with lines inside of it, lets users pass on their insights directly to their advisors.

In addition, Heusser asserts that a Tell prompt allows students to “summarize their observations from the Notice and Choose categories and share them with their advisor.”

“Ultimately,” he stated, “the Tell is a way for students to summarize their reflections, and for advisors to point fingers in meaningful directions based on that information.”

The project was funded by a series of grants from the Teagle Foundation, $70,000 in 2011 and another $230,000 in 2012.

The grants are split between Union, Washington and Lee University and Gettysburg College.

The goal of the 2012 grant award was to “help students connect academic and co-curricular experiences as a way of promoting a cohesive understanding of liberal education.”

A committee of Union’s faculty and staff members oversaw the project: Therese McCarty, Mark Wunderlich, Brian Cohen, Lorraine Cox, Michael Hagerman, Megan Ferry, Steve Schmidt, Doug Klein, Suzie Benack, Gale Keraga, Blair Raymond and Ellen Borkowski.

NCT is responsively designed, meaning that it can be used seamlessly on a variety of devices such as smartphones and tablets.

This means that the size of each NCT prompt adjusts based on the type of device on which it is being accessed.

However, despite the emphasis the app places on mobile responsive design, users are still welcome to submit their input on their computers.

Heusser  emphasized that NCT will be invaluable in “forging more productive conversations between students and faculty and making the process of advising more engaging and effective for everyone involved.”

For more information about NCT in addition to real student responses to prompts, go to


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