Since the mid-1990s, social norms theory has become prevalent in student development literature and research. Subsequently, social norms interventions to change student behavior have spread across campuses nationwide through marketing campaigns. Theorists and practitioners have applied the social norms approach to primarily health-related student behaviors such as drinking, smoking, violence prevention, and sexual assault. While documented social norms interventions have changed attitudes and behaviors of varying kinds, significant research into its impact on students' academic behaviors and attitudes has not been completed. This article was written to start a conversation about the potential applications of the social norms approach to academic advising.
Cynthia Demetriou is Coordinator of Academic Services at Adelphi University. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and her master's degree in arts in education from Harvard University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Arts and Humanities Education program at New York University. Ms. Demetriou can be contacted at demetriou@Adelphi.edu.