We Want You to Graduate
Is it your dream to squirm around in a bunch of classes, pass some, fail a few, withdraw from one here and there, jump from major to major, and then leave college with a bunch of debt and no degree? No? Shocking! How about spending 5 or 6 years and an extra $40,000 or $50,000 getting your degree? Not that either? We want to partner in your success, and more than anything, celebrate with you when you graduate. So many students think the key to doing well in college and graduating is all about how smart you are. Well, of course, being smart helps, but there are a lot of other really practical skills and steps that research shows are equally, if not more important when it comes to making sure you graduate.
One critical component to a smooth path to graduation is knowing which classes to take and when to take them (and of course, passing them when you take them!). For a lot of students building this plan and following it correctly feels like IKEA instructions to building a rocket ship. Trust me, it’s not, but you definitely have to engage in the process and be your own advocate. Your advisor is inviting you to sit down and talk every few weeks – are you ghosting them? Show up to these meetings and ask good questions: are all my transcripts here? Are there any classes that have pre-reqs that I should be aware of? Are there any classes I need that aren’t offered very often? How and when do I apply for my major? What are the requirements for entrance to my major?
Of course, you should be able to rely on your advisor for great advice, and you can. But the more you understand your own degree and academic path, the better off you will be. In your first year, you are likely to be in the class, “Life Calling” which includes an assignment called The iMap. Very clever, don’t you think? iMap stands for Individual Master Academic Plan – just like iPhone stands for Internet Phone – well sort of like that, but you get the picture. This process walks you through your own degree requirements and the 8 semester plan the faculty in your department and the advising department have already created so you can understand what classes you should take each semester, each year, and in which order. It is a paved road to graduation with signs posted along the way to help you answer all of the questions above like: “This Class is Only Offered Every Other Year!” and “Apply for Your Major Now!” Think of it as the map app of your choosing guiding you, and your advisor is the voice giving you instructions along the way. The fewer times you hear, “recalculating,” the better!
Another critical component to making sure you graduate from college, is forming relationships with faculty members and staff. Meeting up with your professors outside of class is huge when it comes to understanding the instructions for assignments, knowing how to prepare for exams, and being willing to ask questions and engage in class. When you have a personal relationship with the professor, it’s a lot harder to skip the class because you’re not just blowing off British Literature – you’re bagging on Professor McQueen, and nobody who knows Professor McQueen would ever bag on him. Which brings me to my next point. If you want to graduate, you’ve got to go to class. A lot of students think they can skip class in college, but that is not the case if you want to do well. If you are struggling, seek support. We have free tutoring, a free writing center, free research assistants, and all kinds of help that many students never take advantage of!
Trust me, if you want to stay for 5 or 6 years, we’re happy to hang with you, but it’s really not necessary if you are a good academic driver and know how to read your iMap. You got this. We’re here to be the voice in your map app of choice, but you are the driver my friend. No need to hear “re-calculating” on your way to graduation.