Planning ahead can help steer clear of super-senior year

Kelly Petryszyn

Advisers have advice to keep you on track to graduate on time

When students begin college, the plan is often to graduate in four years. It is not uncommon, however, for students to be “super seniors” and graduate in nine semesters or more. As students start registering for classes, advisers said it is important to plan ahead so students can graduate on-time.

“First figure out what classes you want to take to stay on track,” academic adviser Marcus Tullio said.

He said students should regularly meet with an adviser and know when they need to take what classes.

It is “very important to take certain classes in order,” academic adviser Cassie Pegg-Kirby said. Some classes are only offered in the spring or fall, so a student needs to take those classes at the designated time or wait a year. She always has students leave her office with a semester guide and a requirement sheet. She added that it is important for students to meet with an adviser once a semester.

Students said they are familiar with KAPS reports and their graduation requirements.

Junior geology major Lindsey Brenizer said she prefers to use only these tools and not an adviser’s help.

“If I try to understand it myself, I feel I am in control,” she said, adding that it may take her five years to graduate because she changed her major.

Junior philosophy major James Parsons, who learned about KAPS report from his adviser, said he thinks meeting with an adviser is useful.

“It saves time,” he said. “Rather than having to figure it out for yourself, they have all the information right there.”

It is important for students to meet with advisers regularly, so advisers can catch when students get off-track, Pegg-Kirby said.

If a student gets closed out of a class, the student should contact the instructor first to overload the course, and if that doesn’t work, they should contact a faculty adviser, Tullio said.

“The answer is not always yes,” Pegg-Kirby said. “Students should be proactive about completing their degree.”

Sometimes extra seats or an extra section can be added, she said. A student can also get on the wait list for a class by contacting the department.

Parsons didn’t know that a student could try to get in a class if they were shut out. He said he didn’t get in a class because it was full and held off on taking it until the following semester.

To complete their degree in a timely manner, “maximize every class you take,” Pegg-Kirby said. For example, a student can make an LER course count as a diversity requirement or a major class count for a minor.

If student’s class work is suffering as the result of an outside job, students should research loans or consider taking a year off, Tullio said.

He said he hopes students can spot when they reach this point by noticing they are “not going to class, missing assignments or are doing poorly on tests and other assignments.”

Another issue that gets students off track is when exploratory students have taken most of their LERs and haven’t found a major yet.

Junior public relations major Rena Haber was unsure about her history major, so instead of staying in school and taking other classes, she decided to take time off to figure out what she wanted to do.

Students should take it upon themselves to make sure they complete their degree on-time, Pegg-Kirby said.

“It’s their degree,” she said. “(It is) important they are an advocate for themselves. It’s important they ask the question. If you don’t ask the question, you will never know.”

Contact student affairs reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].