The four-year plan for graduation

Samantha Laros

Staying on track to finish studies on time

So you’re new to Kent State and plan on graduating in four years. If you have talked to any upperclassmen, you may have heard doing so is no easy task.

Sure, most freshmen come to Kent State hoping to make their mark, learn a thing or two and get out four years later. However, according to the university’s Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness Web site, few of them actually do.


• Know your major and GPA (he said you would be surprised how many students come in not knowing this).

• Have a photo ID available and know your Banner ID number.

• Prepare specific questions for your adviser beforehand.

• Sign up for courses as soon as scheduling is available (students who get the schedules they want are those who meet with an adviser, plan their course numbers and register as soon as possible).

• Meet with an adviser at least once or

twice per semester

• Contact your adviser with any changes to your schedule, whether it is to add or drop a course.

Source: Benjamin Stenson, academic adviser for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design

As an incoming student, how do you know whether it is best to stay in a class you might be failing in order to retain full-time status and attempt to stay on track, or withdraw from a course to protect your GPA?

Benjamin Stenson, academic adviser for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, said he recommends each student only withdraw from courses that are not required for his or her major.

“The only time a student should ever drop a course is to substitute one (Liberal Education Requirement course) for another,” Stenson said.

If the class is required for a student’s major, he or she will have to take it. Therefore, they might as well stay enrolled and try to get the best grade possible. If the student is a freshman and ends up failing, he or she can retake the class, replace the grade and “basically stretch the course over two semesters,” Stenson added.

This is especially true for freshmen. If the course is required, the student will need to retake it anyway. So, if the student continues with the class, even if he or she fails it, the student will be able to replace the grade without accumulating a “W” on his or her transcript, which represents a withdrawal.

Stenson said one or two withdrawals is no big deal, but an accumulation of “W’s” can play a role in the decisions of graduate schools and future employers. If a class is dropped before the deadline (within the first two weeks of classes), a “W” will not appear on the student’s transcript.

Stenson said the best chance a student has to stay on track and graduate in four years is to “follow deadlines and be proactive.”

According to the 2008-2009 Undergraduate Course Catalog, the process of dropping and withdrawing from classes was as follows:

1. Course adding is permitted through the second week of the semester through FlashFAST on a space-available basis.

2. Withdrawal from any or all courses is permitted through the 10th week of the semester, (or the pro-rated deadline for flexibly scheduled sections). After that time, students are considered to be committed to all remaining courses and must complete them. If students are unable to complete the semester because of extreme circumstances that first occur after the deadline, students should consult their college or dean’s office.

3. Any applicable refund (published on the Bursar’s website, is determined by the date the transaction is processed on FlashFAST.

Contact news correspondent Samantha Laros at [email protected].