Having to plan four years of course work as a college student when you’re an incoming freshmen can be a little overwhelming. If you find yourself wondering how to organize your courses after you’ve figured out which courses are required for your major, no need to worry. There is a wonderful tool within the UMD navigation system, known as Graduation Planner, which allows our students to do just that.
Before I dive into the sorts of things that Graduation Planner is useful for, how to use it and where to find it, there is one big important point I would like to make clear. Graduation planner is a ROUGH sketch of what your four years at UMD will look like. A lot of individuals get Graduation Planner and APAS mixed up and sometimes combine them into the same thing. They are not the same thing, as I’ve stated Graduation Planner is a rough sketch of what you need to take at UMD whereas APAS is your official record that tells you what you’ve already completed and what you still need to complete in order to earn your degree. Graduation Planner is, by no means, permanent; the courses you put in there are able to be moved around and changed based on how your registration goes. With that being said, let me explain how graduation planner is useful to you as a UMD student.
As I stated earlier, Graduation Planner allows you to plan out the course work required for your four years within your major. You are able to plan each course into a certain semester to make sure that you have all the requirements for you major accounted for. If you’re not entirely sure what you need, or what you still need after planning a majority of your courses, there is a tool within Graduation Planner that helps you out with this. If you highlight your major and click on “What Do I Need” in the upper right hand corner it will bring up all the other courses (or categories) that you still need to plan. Be careful with this however, be sure to not rely on this to tell you that you’ve met all your requirements for graduation; always check your APAS (“Cover your APAS” –Stacy Crawford).
Okay, I’ve planned my courses now how do I put that information to use? Instead of going into the system and finding which classes you’ve selected are offered at what times for Fall semester, there has been a new gadget added that does that tedious work for you. The schedule builder (placed at the bottom of each semester within graduation planner) allows you to browse all the different scenarios for class times with the classes you have planned for that semester. Once you have found a schedule that works best for you, register with those days and times.
After you’ve used Graduation Planner, it becomes pretty second nature very quickly. But here are some helpful tips that will make Graduation Planner a little more of a positive experience, than it already is. First, whenever I registered for a semester, I would go into my Graduation Planner and make sure I have all the classes I actually registered for in the same semester on my Graduation Planner. If there were some courses in that semester I didn’t actually register for, I would replace it with the course I actually registered for and place the other one in the next semester. This just keeps your Graduation Planner up to date and saves you more time in the long run; it helps keep you on track. Second, if you plan a course and a red exclamation point shows up next to it, this means that course is not offered (or usually isn’t offered) within the semester you originally planned to take it (as I mentioned earlier, this is one of the reasons as to why it’s good to use Graduation Planner, it prepares you for knowing which courses are offered in what semesters so you don’t run into those problems while registering). Check the course catalog to double-check that course isn’t offered that semester because sometimes that information changes but doesn’t show up on Graduation Planner right away. Lastly, once you have planned a course you do not have to save it; it will automatically save.
All this information is great but if you’ve never used Graduation Planner before you may not know exactly where to access it. No worries, here is a little step-by-step map on how to find it. Go to the University of Minnesota Duluth Homepage and click on “Academics” at the top of the page. On the new page, under “Academic Assistance” click on “Graduation Planner”. This will bring you to a page that allows you to select your school, choose Duluth. It will then ask you to log in and once you’ve done that you will be in Graduation Planner. If you’re a first time user you will need to create a plan and this is basically stating what your major(s) and minor is and then it will bring you to the page where you can start planning your courses. If you’re a returning student to Graduation Planner, select your already created plan on the homepage and it will bring you to what you’ve already planned.