The primary mission of the APO is to maintain and improve the quality of academic advising at Harvard by working closely with academic departments, the residential Houses, the Dean of Students Office, and other constituents to create trainings, resources, and programs for advisers. The APO serves as the critical interface between advisers and the College, working to align educational policies and procedures with the needs of each undergraduate class year and communicating those policies and procedures to advisers.

The goal of academic advising at Harvard is to ensure that all students are encouraged and supported in exploring the wide of range of opportunities inherent in a liberal arts education. The APO helps meet this goal by overseeing freshman and sophomore academic advising programs and a peer mentoring program for first-year students; by creating and disseminating a variety of advising resources for academic advisers; by partnering with departments in their own advising work with prospective and current concentrators; and by organizing and administering academic programs.