Beware college students - count carefully!

<p>Ah, brings back memories. I was a very detail-oriented student who kept very close track of the degree requirements (there were LOTS); I actually did go to see my advisor every semester. Imagine my surprise at being told - the semester before student teaching - that I needed Government in order to get a teacher's certificate...there were 89 hours required in my major, and Government was not listed anywhere. Oh well, it was an easy A in summer school but I was very angry.</p>

<p>I had something like this happen to me Fall semester of my senior year (decades ago :-) I ended up taking the course at another college in the area, which brought me to a 22 hour load my last semester. It was awful and I thought I would die exam week, but since I'd been admitted to a professional school... I did what I had to. I'm glad now I did.</p>

<p>I had a similar experience way back when. Had done all the undergrad GE requirements and was fully into my major courseload. I happened to overhear a student express relief that she was finally done with her 'upper division GE'. GULP! I ran back to my apt and checked the school catalog and indeed, I had 9 more units (3 classes) to take of upper division GE. D'oh! </p>

<p>Advise from the experienced... Mom and Dad, have a copy of the requirements too...just so you can keep a limited pulse on what is going on. For the record, I was at a very large public university. Had only one meeting with an advisor my entire time in school...and that was to try to get a course approved that wasn't on an 'approved' list. You can bet I'll be keeping my eye on my kids graduation requirements.</p>

<p>Aren't these things explained fairly thoroughly (if turgidly) in every college's course catalog? I would be furious if one of my kids failed to complete his or her graduation and major requirements unintentionally.</p>

<p>We were warned by a departmental college advisor at the local flagship to be sure to get advisor sign-off whenever one is deviating from the standard intro sequences, too. This particular department was very willing to help students get accelerated placement into advanced courses, and she was meticulous about getting the i's dotted and the t's crossed so there would not be problems at graduation. She had heard too many tales of folks in other departments who found that certain formalities were not observed, to the students' detriment.</p>

<p>While S is at a different school, that is one story S has taken with him as he works on placement issues with profs and advisors this week.</p>

<p>I have to agree with JHS. Not to sound rude, but... didn't she look at the requirements herself? Nobody should be depending on anybody else to plan for them.</p>

<p>JHS & Lumine - I have, of course, since looked at the materials available describing requirements. What is explained, in GREAT detail, are the individual courses a student must take to fulfill academic requirements, when they should be completed, and what each major, minor, and concentration requirements are. There was ONE place in a 350 page download (and course listings were in a separate place) where I saw the number of courses required mentioned. D planned for and completed all of her required courses for the college, for her major and for her minor on time and was told that she was on target for 5/09 graduation. Wiggle room comes in regarding AP course credit and partial credit courses. The jury is still out regarding the summer program in Europe she didn't petition for pre-approval for - that could bring her over the top, but as I mentioned before, she registered for it on her own, outside of the college's systems, thinking she didn't need the credit. Yes, she could have double checked the requirements herself, but thought that the go-ahead from two advisors and a dean over 2 1/2 years was sufficient.</p>

<p>CountingDown's advice is the best - get everything in writing!</p>

<p>S dropped one of the schools on his list because of problems w/advising that we had heard about from another alum of his HS. That student was a double major in areas my S was planning to study and had gotten assurances that some things would be cross-counted, pre-reqs waived, etc. Got to junior year only to be told those things wouldn't happen and he'd be lucky to graduate on time. Made the in-state flagship with the terrific advisor look a lot more appealing to him.</p>

<p>These sorts of issue occur at virtually all schools. It is hard to pinpoint the communications breakdown. Sometimes advisors, sometimes students, sometimes both. My recommendation is for every student to micro manage the process. Get the catalogue out and find out exactly what you need. In the end it will be your problem. In this case contact the admin to see what can be done. There are often work arounds of one sort or another.</p>

<p>My D's school has an online degree audit, and it seems to be very helpful. D is a transfer student, and some of the credits weren't properly reflected at first. For instance, when D saw that Spanish transferred as credit but did not fulfill her foreign language requirement, she took care of it right away. She was able to get the fulfillment noted online (it had been an oversight). It is her responsibility to monitor the audit, but it isn't very difficult. For those of you with kids at schools that are responsive to input, an online degree audit might be something to suggest. It makes it easy to keep track of what is needed, what has been completed, and what remains in terms of requirements.</p>

<p>Cal has the same thing as Kelsmom mentioned- a student can run a degree check any time on their student account, every requirements shows and every class that fulfills it shows. It is a great system to allow students to keep themselves on track</p>

<p>You also have to be very careful if you transfer. I went from Emory to UT-Austin in 1970. I had placed out of the foreign language requirement at Emory. Surprise! UT had 2 years of foreign language as a requirement. They viewed me as being one semester short. I didn't become aware of this until my senior year.</p>

<p>I was forced to take a second year second semester Spanish course after not having had Spanish since HS. I took it as a correspondance course and barely made the grade to get a "pass."</p>

<p>When I graduated way back when, one of my close friends had the nasty surprise of no diploma in her envelope. That is when they told her that she had a problem. This is at a well known school's Arts and Sciences college. I had nightmares for years of this happening after that. The requirements were extremely complicated since the requirements for certain things were vague. Which foreign language classes counted not for proficiency or qualification, but for some distribution requirements for certain majors were not spelled out. I remember having a discussion with an advisor as to one of the classes that I took, and whether it met such. Since it was so vague, and since the major was interdisciplinary itself, he approved it, and it went through. </p>

<p>The credit issue is entirely separate. We had some pass/fail courses for credit available at school, and I ended up dropping one senior year because I hated it, and did not need the credit. Since it is only October, is it possible to add one (that is not hated)?</p>

<p>My H who went to A&S at another well known school also had the same type of nightmares for years even though he ended up with enough credits to get out 1 semester early.</p>

<p>My daughter's school has an on-line degree audit, too. It is very nice. You can see which AP scores counted for what. When you run it, you can specify any major (plus minor if you want) and run it any time and see what you need to graduate.</p>

<p>The last year my son graduated college he found out he was a few credits behind and ended up bulking up in credits, especially the last term, taking 23 credits. Almost killed him, but he managed to graduate on time.</p>