1.) Check your advising date.
It may sound like common sense but the semester can get chaotic between hitting the books and socializing, and the next thing you know your advising date is tomorrow. The best way to avoid this scenario is to check your advising date and put it on your calendar. Why not do that right now?
2.) Do your research
Check out what classes are available that you are interested in and what classes you need for your degree. Pay special attention to whether that class is only available one semester so you can plan accordingly which classes you need to take in the spring and which can wait until next fall. Your degree evaluation is your best friend when it comes to knowing what classes you still need, use it! Use the look ahead feature to help you determine which classes will keep you on track and how they will affect your graduation date.
3.) Know what questions you have ahead of time
If there are requirements you are unsure about or concerns that you have, write them down. Coming with a list of questions for your advisor is the best way to make sure you know where you stand. It’s better to take the time to figure out what you need now than to discover a semester away from graduation that you didn’t meet a requirement you were unaware of. If you’ve been thinking about adding a major or minor now is the time to get answers on how it will fit with your degree.
4.) Be realistic about the number of credits you can handle
Sure, you would most likely survive an 18-hour course load but it probably wouldn’t be a ton of fun. Take into consideration other responsibilities such as work and RSOs when choosing the number of credit hours you want to pile on. Only 12 credit hours are required for full-time status, but 15 are recommended to stay on track for graduation. Taking on any more than 15 could leave you with a whole lot of studying and no time for anything else. On the other hand, taking any less could affect your graduation date. Remember, college is all about balance.
5.) Balance your course load
In the same vein as the last tip, too much work isn’t ever a good idea but neither is too little. Pick a healthy balance between challenging and relatively simple classes. Taking 12 credit hours of time-consuming classes (think Business Calculus, statistics, and accounting all in one semester) could leave you stressed to the max. But taking 12 credit hours of simple classes might leave you with boredom and way too much time on your hands. Strike a balance between the two and plan which challenging classes you need for the semester and which classes might be a good compliment.
6.) Choose times wisely
Sure an 8 AM sounds fine on paper, or at least that’s what you’ve convinced yourself, but if you know you’re not a morning person and there are other class times available why set yourself up for failure? Picking the right time for your schedule, your personality, and your ideal amount of sleep will make passing your classes a lot easier because you won’t be so busy you can’t go, or still sleeping .
7.) Have a backup plan
You definitely want to make sure you have classes picked out you would like to take in the event a class you planned on registering for is full. It happens to everyone at one point or another, you hit the register button only to have an error message pop up telling you a class you want is already full. Prevent wasting time trying to find another class by preparing a list of alternate courses you can have your advisor approve, or even ask for their recommendation.
By following these tips you can take the stress out of advising week and set yourself up for success. Visit the Academic Advising Office website for more information.