February 13, 2018
At UCCS, an academic adviser has an average caseload of 652 students.
They help these students to understand a degree audit, plan a semester’s worth of classes and provide advice on what major to choose.
In total, there are 19 academic advisers. With a student body of over 12,400 students, your adviser probably cannot meet with everyone and know the special circumstances of the students assigned to them.
But it’s not always your adviser’s responsibility to help you understand your degree audit. Some students may even have their advisers switched or leave; I’ve had two in less than two years here at UCCS.
Only one person knows what problems, time constraints and unforeseen events will affect the progress of their degree. That person is you.
Why would you want someone else to plan your life? And when you leave school, who is that job going to fall onto?
Students should take control of their degree and seek out how to understand available resources themselves.
Planning your degree is not hard and there are many tools available to you: the degree audit, advising sheets, and if you want to be extra prepared, past course offerings.
The degree audit in your portal tells which classes you have taken and which classes you need to take to graduate. The classes are sorted into groups including major, minors, required non-major and elective classes.
The audit makes it easy to see how many classes and credits you have left to graduate. It also lets you know which courses do not fit into your degree, so you do not waste time or money taking them.
If you’re like me, you want to know which classes are offered and in what format way before the opening of the course schedules. Instead of waiting until the middle of the semester, look back at previous semesters offerings.
Advising sheets are located in the academic advising webpage under the major and minor banner. These sheets show you the suggested path to graduate on time. It does this by showing which classes you should take each semester.
These sheets are a great way to see which classes are prerequisites for other higher-level courses and if you ever get stuck looking at the audit, it gives you a template to follow.
I know I will probably be taking two online preterm courses, one online full-term course and two in-person lecture courses next fall because these courses are typically offered in these formats in past semesters.
Be aware that course offerings can change and be willing to alter your plan if you do look at past offerings. It is a good way to plan ahead but it will not always be accurate.
It is easy to see what classes you need to take and plan your own degree without seeing an adviser who does not know your circumstances like you do, so take control of your own degree.
Save the visits with your adviser when you have a question only they can answer.