Academic planning is a critical component to achieving success in college. As soon as you arrive on campus, you need to create a sound academic plan.
Schedule appointments with your advisor early and often
Prior to your appointment, review the academic requirements in the printed or online undergraduate catalog/bulletin. Familiarize yourself with general education requirements, required and elective major and minor courses, and prerequisites. Check the departmental website and look for a typical “four year plan” that plots out all of the required and elective coursework.
On the day of your appointment, arrive on time. Bring along transcripts from previous schools and a list of questions to clarify and confirm what you read in the catalog.
If you’re confused when you leave an appointment with an academic advisor, schedule a return visit. If you would like a second opinion, ask to speak to the Director of Academic Advising or the Department Chair.
Tip: Introduce yourself and always be courteous to the departmental administrative assistant in your area of study. These folks know everything that goes on in a department. They can often help you cut through red tape, while keeping you abreast of departmental events and upcoming revisions to the curriculum.
Maintain accurate records
Your dorm room or apartment can be a mess, but your academic records should not be. Create an academic file, and in this file, keep a hard copy of all transcripts and course descriptions from previous colleges. Also keep contact information of professors and instructors at your first school, in case you need to contact them regarding courses they taught.
Don’t rely strictly on online records - computers crash, files get corrupted, and academic websites get revised.
Understand registration procedures
Reasons to withdraw from a class:
- You realize you’ve taken too heavy a course load.
- Despite your best efforts, you’re getting poor grades or failing.
- You have a legitimate medical or personal reason for lightening your course load or withdrawing from all your classes.
- After enrolling, you learn that you have registered for the wrong class or that you don’t need the class to fulfill your requirements.