Successful scheduling suggestions

Category:  News
Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 at 7:40 PM

While it may occur only once every semester, scheduling is crucial in deciding how to proceed in one’s academic career.

As a result, Edinboro has many resources available to students, one being the Academic Success Center.

Per their mission statement, the Academic Success Center is “committed to the development of academic success, retention of our students and the encouragement of persistence, which will result in graduation.” Located on the second floor of the Baron-Forness Library, their vision is to be the first choice for students who seek more confidence in their academic career.  

“There are five full-time professional staff in the Academic Success Center whose primary roles are to assist students and provide support to faculty advisors,” said Aarron Hunsinger, one of the academic success coordinators in the department. 

To support students, academic success coordinators (ASC) often give students an idea of what requirements they must meet in order to graduate by entering that student’s DegreeWorks. Described by Hunsinger as the “blueprint to the degree,” DegreeWorks is a tool he recommends students become familiar with in order to succeed. 

Another tool that assists with this is the course sequence sheet, which is made available for all majors at the university. Essentially, it works as a rough outline of the ideal progression through one’s major, considering major classes as well as elective courses: “The course sequence sheet identifies when courses should be taken and in what order to ensure progress in a timely manner,” said Hunsinger.

Once a student has done these things, the next step, according to Hunsinger, is to meet with their advisor. “Once meeting with their ASC, students are typically well poised to meet with their faculty academic advisor to review their plan of action and gain additional feedback,” said Hunsinger. While ASC provide quality help to students, “Faculty advisors should be understood as the ultimate say when it comes to scheduling.”

Advisors play an important role, as they are the ones that give students personal pin numbers they must enter in order to register for their classes. In addition, students have an opportunity to receive more advice on how to proceed for the following semester.

This is a notion seconded by Dr. Roger Solberg, director of Edinboro’s Honors Program and associate professor in the English and philosophy department, who stressed a few “different” things. “Here are the three most important things students can do when they are trying to create their schedule: 1. Talk to your advisor; 2. Talk to your advisor; 3. Talk to your advisor.”

“Don’t try to figure out everything on your own,” said Solberg, finding that advisors can help students avoid common pitfalls: “Be sure you’re not signing up for a class that fulfills a requirement you’ve already met.”

Through her work as an academic advisor in the Academic Success Center, Carol Gleichsner found that while students take in suggestions of advisors, they should still be advised to build a schedule that works for them. “Know yourself and your ‘best time of day,’” she said. 

Along with time, Gleichsner noted that students should consider how classes are set up. “It is less about what class may be ‘easy’ and more about whether or not the structure of the class (note-taking, essays, multiple choice, group projects) matches your preference.” 

To do this, Gleichsner suggests: “Use a weekly calendar to map out your schedule. Post your required major classes first and then work around them for your general education and elective classes.”

This strategy is used by Joshua Bennett, a sophomore ROTC student and criminal justice major, who finds the use of a similar spreadsheet to plan out his schedule the best option in order to fit his required courses in. Using the curriculum sheet, Bennett planned his schedule so that he gets in classes for general education, his major, his minor and his military science class as part of ROTC, all while factoring in free time.

Gleichsner then noted the importance of general education classes; while they are required in order to graduate, they also present a unique opportunity for students to branch out.

“When selecting general education classes, think about taking something totally different but interesting to you. That is a great way to expand your horizons,” said Gleichsner.

Solberg found this to be true of free electives as well, which offer similar possibilities for expansion.

“Take a course that expands the boundaries of your knowledge,” he said. “Look for courses about topics you’ve always been curious about, especially courses outside your major.  That’s one of the reasons you’re here.”

Solberg added: “Your major courses will get you a job. Your electives can take you places you’ve never imagined.”

Nathan Brennan can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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