Opinion

Balance Needed : Credits Which Prevent Students From Graduating

One Student’s Reaction to the Recent Knowledge She May Not Graduate on Time


Commencement_20130118_BN_232Imagine the spring semester of your senior year in college. Schoolwork seems like a piece of cake, nights and weekends are well spent, and job search­ing is an exciting new adventure. The only thing standing between you and the professional working world is graduation.

As the May Commencement rapidly approaches, the thought of the four years at college com­ing to an end is bittersweet. Un­less you are attending graduate school, the thought of prolonging your college career rarely crosses your mind.

My case is different. During an afternoon last week, I received an e-mail stating that I was not on-track to graduate in May. After the knots in my stomach settled, I called the Registrar to clarify this terrifying news. Long story short, I was missing nine credits of electives.

During the past four years of creating my schedule on my own, I made sure to complete all of the requirements that were listed on my academic audit.

I was under the assumption that once all of the requirements were met, I had no more credits to ful­fill.

Where was my mix up then? What I failed to realize during my four years of scheduling classes is that near the top of the academic audit is a “Balance Needed” num­ber that I passed right over every year, assuming that the require­ments were the only necessary classes.

I was not graduating in the May Class of 2013. My eyes filled up with buckets of water ready to stream down my face as my mind raced for solutions. Nine credits. That is what was separating me from walking across the stage and receiving my diploma in May.

I had to get those nine credits. After a few days of figuring out my many options, everything worked in my favor. However, it came with a lot of unexpected stress that could have been pre­vented if I did a few things dif­ferently.

My advice applies to every col­lege student, freshman through senior. Complete the require­ments on your academic audit, but always check the “Balance Needed” to ensure that you have registered for all of the credits necessary to graduate.

Check your academic audit af­ter every class registration period and during the beginning of the semester to allow yourself time to add classes to your schedule. Plan out your four years at Monmouth based upon both the required courses and the remaining credits needed.

I also strongly suggest main­taining a close connection with your advisor. When scheduling classes, both you and your advisor need to collaborate and strategize a plan toward successful comple­tion of your college career.

E-mailing is the go-to resource for contacting professors and ad­visors, but meeting in person is most helpful when it comes to scheduling and preparing for the end of your college career. By meeting your advisor in person, you are given the opportunity to ask any questions you might have and receive instant feedback, rather than waiting for an e-mail response.

During the meeting, bring a printed version of your academic audit. This will ensure that you can visually notice any blunders or pertinent information regard­ing courses and scheduling.

If you happen to be in the same situation as I was or suddenly no­tice that you are in need of more credits than expected, contact your advisor and department pro­fessors immediately. This is what saved me from graduating late.

Make them aware of the situ­ation you are in and suggest plans of action, but have several strategies ready in case one falls through. Most importantly, keep a positive outlook in each of your solutions.

After thinking I would have to stay at Monmouth during the summer and take classes to finish up my remaining credits, I real­ized that living by the beach for a month or so is not the worst case scenario.

To sum up my advice briefly, review your audit carefully with your advisor. Trust me, you do not want to receive an e-mail from the Registrar stating that you are not on-track to graduate. It does not make for an enjoyable moment as a college senior antic­ipating graduation and preparing for a job.

Ensure that your tuition money at MU was well spent and earned; guarantee that diploma.

PHOTO COURTESY of Blaze Nowara