Advisers prevent pitfalls

The opportunity to switch and add classes may have disappeared Monday, but the scheduling horror stories haven’t.

Just recently, I sat between two students who were talking across me. “This is my last semester,” one said. “I thought I was finished but things didn’t transfer like I was told they would.”

“Yeh, I’m back here this semester to take just one class. I thought I was going to graduate last semester,” said the other.

Sound familiar? I’ve hear this tale of frustration more than once. Some students are furious with their advisers when they get to what they think is their last semester, only to find out that some requirement has not been met. Many times we schedule and attend advising appointments, just because we must, to enroll for next semester’s classes.

But there is a reason that advising sessions are required. Advisers are an important measure that can save you time and money. They can keep you on track, and let you know what classes fit any vague requirements.

So instead of playing the blame game, be proactive. No adviser intentionally gives you incorrect advice. Now is the time for us to start taking responsibility for our goals. As the saying goes, when it comes to your academic status, “trust, but verify.” It’s really not fair or an adult way of doing things to depend entirely on your adviser to mention everything you need to do

First, when you attend advising sessions, know what your general studies, residency, hours earned, and grade point average requirements are. You can get a copy of the “General Studies Requirements Checklist” and keep track on paper and you’ll know when you’ve fulfilled your requirements for “humanities” or “diversity,” etc. You can also print a degree audit from Norse Express, but I’ve found it confusing and better for me to keep track on paper.

Get and keep a copy of the University Catalog that was applicable when you began your major. One thing you may not be aware of is that at least 45 credit hours of the 128 required hours for a bachelor’s degree, must at 300 level (or above) classes.

After you have completed 54 semester hours, but no later than the semester before you are graduating, you are supposed to file a Program Certification Form for your major and minor and area of concentration. And lastly, as a senior, after 90 credit hours, you must complete the online Senior Assessment Survey.

I knew what I needed for my major and minor, but I didn’t know about many of the other requirements until I read the University Catalog for myself. I may be in the minority, but I don’t think so, as I’ve heard others talking about their frustration with their adviser and disappointment when they came up short.

Take personal responsibility to know what the requirements are. For some of us who are getting near the end of a long academic journey, it’s never too early to make sure you have your ducks in a row.