In a few weeks, fall semester will end, and many Weber State University seniors will put on the cap and gown. For some students, though, the excitement will be short-lived.
Many seniors reach their final semester only to find out they are missing credits or have not met the expectations for graduation.
“When a student thinks that they are done and they sit down with their adviser and find out that they have not met all the requirements, it can be a big shock, “ said Debbie Murphy, academic adviser for the College of Arts and Humanities.
The frustration and dejection could be avoided if WSU students would take a few minutes to meet with their advisers.
“If you’re within a year of graduating, you need to make an appoint with your adviser . . . students need to take responsibility,” said Bruce Bowen, assistant WSU provost.
For every student who meets with his or her adviser, there are those who ignore the request, and the surprise of not graduating when they hoped is the end result.
“I know there are other students who have never met with an academic adviser, and they are usually the ones that get surprised,” Murphy said.
Obviously, not all students avoid the advisement. Some students use it to point them in the right direction.
“It is particularly important for me because I changed majors, (and) I was not really sure what was required for my history major,” said Sarah Thomas, a senior at WSU.
According to Bowen, WSU has done a lot to help students avoid this experience. WSU has created Cat Tracks and online helps, and even waived the graduation fee.
WSU Cat Tracks is designed to help students map their progress. Murphy recommends that students sit down with advisers and learn how Cat Tracks works.
“I think students do like Cat Tracks,” she said. “It is a very effective tool . . . but it does not take the place of an academic adviser.”
Advisers and Cat Tracks, along with other WSU website helps, are designed to keep students on track to graduate quickly.
Andrew Lathrop, a WSU freshman, said he wants to graduate as soon as possible. WSU has the same idea. According to Bowen, the graduation rate drops as students spend more time per semester at WSU.
“Some majors require that you sit down with an adviser at least once a semester, but at the very minimum, you should be meeting at least once a year,” Murphy said.
Advisers don’t just point out the lack of requirements met. Other students find out they are closer to graduation than they thought.
“I was much closer than I thought . . . it was a pleasant surprise,” Thomas said.
WSU and the accreditation department requires that every student reach 120 credit hours for graduation. According to Murphy, this means some majors might not reach the credit requirement, so the credit requirement must be met by taking elective courses. This can generally be any class, including those like bowling and billiards.