Staying the “Course”

By: Zach

As fall semester is in full swing, many of us are busy with homework assignments, extra-curricular activities, studying for exams, social activities, and much more. With all the chaos, sometimes it can seem hard to keep your eyes on the prize… graduation! How do you keep the balance? What keeps you going? What should you know to keep you on track? From Freshmen to Seniors, I am going to highlight some basic guidelines to keep you on track for graduation.

  • Complete a course load of 15 to 18 credits each semester. Sounds like an easy one, but it is true. By averaging 15 course credits a semester, you will be on track to graduate with the full 120 credits needed for a Bachelors degree. (Apologies Accounting majors… plan accordingly as you will need a full 150 credits to sit for the CPA Exam.)
  • Enroll in May and summer sessions to catch up or get ahead. If you are dipping below the 15 course credit mark per semester, think about hopping into some May or Summer term courses to catch up. Maybe like me, you decided to study abroad for the semester, and you need to catch up. Throughout these terms, not only are on-site classes offered, there are also a larger variety of online classes that become available.
  • Avoid repeating courses. This one should be a no-brainer, but it happens to the best of us. If you catch yourself starting to fall behind in a class, make sure you use your on-campus resources, like the tutoring center, to help you out. No only will they help save you from repeating a class and the material, but a few hundred bucks that you would be spending on those credits as well. (Next time you see one of our amazing UMD tutors, give them a big hug for saving you money!)
  • Make full use of the academic advising available to you. Take a magnifying glass to your APAS Report, and schedule time with your advisor to go over your Grad Planner. Without these tools, we would be lost at sea. All joking aside, these tools, along with our amazing academic staff, are here to help you. Take advantage of the free advising services offered to you as a student to help keep you on track for four years.
  • Decide on a major early and stick with it. The earlier you can narrow down your field of interest and your major, the better off you will be to walk for graduation on time. Now, being undecided is not a bad thing at all, and actually many would say it is a good way to start your first year (it offers opportunity to explore all majors). Just remember… UMD has yet to offer majors in “I Don’t Quite Know,” “Still Thinking About it,” or “The Art of Nothing.” Everyone, including you, has a passion! Discover what that may be, research how to make it into a career, and go for it. If you’re really stuck, come to our office and take one of our 3 assessments to help you make the decision.
  • Schedule your time to fit your academic plan rather than work or extracurricular activities. Now, I’m NOT saying you can’t work or be involved. In fact, I would highly encourage it! Just make sure that school comes first. If you ever seem to be getting caught up or too busy with other activities, reanalyze your schedule, and make time for class and studying. Ultimately, use your time wisely.
  • Seek help if you are having problems. I believe this is one of the more important ones to make note of. If you feel as though you are slipping behind academically, uncertain about plans for after graduation, have any questions about finances, or just need someone to talk to about whatever you’re dealing with, that you seek out the appropriate offices for help. Once again, they are there for your service and are always glad to help! (Career & Internship Services included!)

With these basic key elements in mind, you are sure to stay the course for graduation! Make sure to stop by our office regarding any questions you may have about specific courses, major options, future careers, and much more! We are here to serve you. If you’ve got a handle on your 4-year academic plan, take a crack at your 4-year career plan.

Until next time!

Cheers,

- Zach

Read Zach’s other posts

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About ellenhatfield

New professional in the field of Student Affairs in Higher Education. I am a Career Counselor at the University of MN Duluth.

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