Friday, April 27, 2012

Managing the Aftermath of Registration

In the CAS Advising Center, the dust is finally settling after freshmen registration.  Last week, I provided some general advice regarding the process but now I would like to talk about some specific issues that arose and what you can do if you are affected!  My advice is usually the same:  contact the advising center!  However, here is the breakdown of some common registration concerns at this time.  It’s not all inclusive so just because you don’t see your concern, doesn’t mean we can’t help you!


"HELP!  I'm panicking because I can't get the course I want!!!


The class I want is “Reserve Closed” even though there are still seats!


Seats are reserved in some classes to allow specific majors the opportunity to enroll in them.  However, these reserves officially come off on Monday, April 30!  At this time you should be able to register for the course if there are open seats remaining.  If you have difficulty registering for a reserved course on or after April 30, contact the CAS Advising Center!  As long as there are seats, we can help you register for the course.  

I didn’t get my biology or chemistry!          

Many science majors, particularly those pursuing the biological sciences have incomplete schedules at this time.  Registration for Organic Chemistry was a little challenging for some.  Also, a number of sections of biology courses filled even before the start of freshmen registration and others, such as BIOL 241, were in high demand because they were not writing intensive.  If you were unable to get a biology course please know that we are aware of the situation and are working to address it.  

At this point I recommend you:

  • Contact the CAS Advising Center as soon as possible to let us know that you did not get a biology course.  When you contact us, we will place you on the “wish list” for the course.  We will use the list not only to match any open seats with the students that need them but also to inform the Dean and the department chair about student needs.  There are no guarantees but sometimes, if there is need, departments can open new sections of courses. 
  • Stay calm!  I know how stressful it is to not have a complete schedule right now, but we are absolutely here to help.  Your PIN is activated until the end of the first week of the Fall Semester.  If you get on the “wish list” both you and an advisor can keep looking for classes to open up throughout the summer.  Remember, not everyone who is currently planning to take biology or chemistry courses will stay enrolled in them.  Also, new sections occasionally open if there is enough need.  By the time the semester starts, you will definitely have a biology course and an organic chemistry on your schedule, even if you don’t get your first choice.  However, we can’t help you if you don’t ask us to, so don’t forget to contact the advising center!

I’m a CJ major but I couldn’t get into the recommended courses!

This is a common situation for CJ majors.  While the catalog recommends that you complete specific courses such as Research Methods, American Policing and The American Court System during your first semester of sophomore year, many students are unable to register for them until a later semester.  That is perfectly acceptable as long as you have made sure to register for one or two other criminal justice courses.  If you were unable to find suitable alternatives, contact the advising center and we can help!

The class I want is closed but the professor said I could be “written in”...

It is very uncommon for a student to be added to a closed course.  Ordinarily, a professor’s permission is not enough to get an override into a course.  Usually, there are a number of people awaiting a seat in a closed course so it would be unfair to place someone into a closed course ahead of them.  Beyond considerations of fairness, permission is not enough because often a course is closed because of issues with physical space or contracts.  However, if you would like a closed course, let us know and we will place you on the “wish list”!

My account is still on hold and I haven’t registered yet!! HELP!!!

I realize this is an incredibly stressful situation but don’t forget we are here to help!  It is never preferable to register late, but it definitely does not mean you won’t be able to get the classes you need.  You can try to register yourself with your PIN or you can come by the advising center for assistance.  You may not get an optimal schedule, free from morning or evening courses, but we will help you get classes. 

Katie Robinson
CAS Academic Advisor

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Time For Fall and Summer Registration!

 Freshman Registration begins tomorrow, Friday, April 20 at 3PM.  By now, you should have met with an advisor in the CAS Advising Center to ask questions, review your schedule and receive your term PIN.  When your PIN becomes activated, you will follow these instructions to register for your fall and summer courses. Wondering what to do if you have problems? 


Common Summer/Fall Registration Woes

  • The Course I wanted is closed!  Can I be written in?  Ordinarily, it is not possible to be written into a closed course, even with the professor’s permission.  However, the CAS Advisors maintain a wish list.  If the course you truly want is closed, stay calm!  Register for the next best thing and then send one of us an email with your R# and the name and CRN of the course you are trying to get into.  Course enrollment fluctuates after final grades come out as people change their minds or determine that they can no longer take the courses they have planned.  If you are on the wish list, both you and your advisor can check during the summer for openings.  Additionally, getting your name on the wish list is beneficial because, if there are a lot of people waiting for a course, departments will occasionally open new sections but we need to know that you are waiting for a seat!

  • The course I wanted says “major restriction” but I am declaring that major! Many courses are restricted to specific majors.  If you are currently in the process of declaring a major and are unable to register for an open section of a course for that major, call the CAS Advising Center immediately!  We can add you to the course!  In contacting us please remember:

Advisors, like Geri Botyrius, are here to take your calls during registration!

1.  Call us--don't try to come in!!  By the time you make it in to see us and we get off the phone with students who are calling for help, all of your classes might close!  It's always best to call!!

 2.  Completely sign out of your myscranton account!  Only one person can be logged into your registration at a time!  If you are logged in, we can't help you!  It can take a long time for the computer to log you out and the longer it takes, the less likely it is you'll get the classes you want!

3.  Be prepared!  Have your R# and the CRN of the course(s) you want on hand so we can help you faster!

  • The course I want is “reserve closed”!  What does that mean?  Many courses reserve a certain number of seats for students in particular majors.  Once the non-reserved seats are taken, students who are not in those majors are not able to register for the class.  Reserves usually come off a week after registration.  Email your advisor to tell them you didn’t get a seat.  If the course is open when the reserve is removed, your advisor can add you to the course. 
  •   My Account is On Hold!! Login to your myscranton account to make sure you are not on hold before registration begins.  When you have a hold on your account, neither you nor your academic advisor will be able to register you for the classes.  Most holds are financial.  You will need to talk to the Bursar’s Office to resolve the problem.  They are located in St. Thomas Hall room 201 and you can call them at 570-941-4062.
  • I never came in for registration!  If you haven't kept an initial advising appointment for fall preregistration, and you are not currently scheduled for an appointment, the CAS Advisors will not be able to help you until Monday, April 23.  We are solidly booked up until registration now.  Until you have your initial appointment, you can't get your PIN and therefore can't register or be registered for fall classes.  If you call during registration, we can't help you! We open at here as early as possible to improve your chances of getting into the courses you want!

Other things to chew on...

Bella is "chewing on" all this advice!
  • Your PIN becomes activated tomorrow but it stays activated until the end of the first week of the fall semester.  There is a lot of time for courses to open up!  Be patient and don't panic!

  • When you completed your preregistration, you and your advisor both signed off on the schedule you planned.  Your advisor certified that the courses you chose were consistent with your academic goals and would help you progress toward timely graduation in your major.  If you make changes to your schedule besides switching sections or adding a PHED course, you should check in with your advisor to make sure you will still be on track!
Katie Robinson
CAS Academic Advisor

Friday, April 13, 2012

Choosing Free Electives Can Be A Minor Issue!

As the semester, and your first year at The University of Scranton, draws to a close, you have one foot fully planted in your freshman year, but you also have an eye on the future. You’ve learned that with the dedication of all your efforts you can accomplish some amazing things you may not have fully believed possible as a high school student.  With well-deserved confidence, it’s time to start considering all the things you would like to do with your passion and talents.  Certainly, this has been on the mind of many of the students in my office in the past month as they have begun to contemplate the virtues of minors and double majors.  They arrive with a lot of questions and misconceptions about what is possible so it’s time for a little myth busting, CAS Advising Style!

CAS Advisor, Kevin Abbott, discusses a four year plan with Colleen Day.

Myth #1:  Double majors are only for contestants on College Jeopardy!
Hearing someone is a double major in Political Science and English with a minor in Biology and Philosophy brings to mind visions of overachieverdom for some.  However, double majors and minors can actually be surprisingly easy to fit in with no additional effort, depending on your original major.  Some majors have large open cognate and free elective areas.  If you are in one of those majors, you have to take all of those free elective and cognate credits to graduate anyway, so you might as well concentrate your efforts to produce a double major or a minor.  In many cases, some of the classes you would need to take for your double major or minor can fit into other general education requirement areas and can fulfill, for example, social behavioral (S), humanities (CH, CA, CL, CF) or natural science (E) requirements.  You won’t even need to use free electives for the courses that fit into these areas.  It takes a little thought and planning but, for most majors, completing at least a minor is very possible!  

Myth #2:  There is a predetermined best choice for my double major or minor…
Many students who realize they have the room to accommodate a second major, ask me what the “right” choice is for them.  That’s not a question I can ever answer without asking several myself!  There are several factors to consider in deciding what path to pursue:

  • What do you love...or loathe for that matter? Regardless of how marketable you think a business minor might make you in this uncertain job market, it’s only going to hinder your efforts if you don’t enjoy the classes.  You will be far more academically successful if you enjoy the classes you are taking and you will learn a lot more from them than if you tried to take the “right” courses that are unappealing to you.  You may be stuck taking courses you don’t enjoy as much to fulfill general education requirements but you shouldn’t be dreading your free electives.  The bottom line is that taking courses you don’t like is counterproductive but taking something you really love can boost your GPA, improve your academic experience and widen your knowledge in meaningful ways.
  • How can you broaden your horizons?  Many times, students think that they “should” pursue a minor or double major that will extend their understanding of their first major.  For example, a lot of biology majors choose minors in biochemistry because they think it will “look good” to medical or graduate schools.  This isn’t a terrible idea, but it’s a fallacy to think that it’s always the best option to pursue a related area.  If you are a science major, pursuing a minor or double major in the humanities can deepen skill development and make you a better rounded individual.  Consider doing something completely unrelated to your first discipline!  However it is also positive to seek classes that will augment your current major…
  • What augments your current major?  There are certain combinations of majors and minors that marry really well.  For example, if you are interested in pursuing a career in journalism, it might be wise to combine a Communication major with English, Writing or Political Science.  It can be helpful to consider your career goals and the sort of skills that will be helpful to you in the future.  That knowledge can make minor selection more helpful. 
  •  ¿Habla EspaƱol? A minor in another language can be a really wonderful way both to boost your marketability and to expand your understanding of the world.  It can enhance your travel options as well as your abilities in English and usually functions to make you a better global citizen.  So consider adding a language minor…but only if you enjoy learning languages!  Remember, do what you love!
 Myth #3:  I need to figure out how to make this work by myself…
An example of a 4 year plan!

You are absolutely not alone in making these decisions!  The advisors in the advising center are happy to help you decide what options are most attractive for you and to help you figure out if it is possible to achieve all your academic goals in four years.  Each week, we help several students develop four year academic plans that provide them with a blueprint to prepare for the future and we would be glad to help you too!  A four year plan will help you determine if you can accomplish a double major, add minors or concentrations or even spend time studying abroad. These plans are flexible and electronic and can, therefore, evolve as your life does.  If you want help, call and schedule an appointment with me or another CAS advisor today! 

 Katie Robinson, 
CAS Academic Advisor

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Deep Breath Before the Plunge

Bella, the unofficial CAS AAC mascot, dives in!

Take a Deep Breath!
It's been a busy semester but Easter Break is finally here and you are off to spend a few days with friends and family, kicking back and enjoying some well deserved R&R!  Take some time to rejuvenate yourself and to destress.  With final exams starting on Monday, May 14--only a little more than a  month away--this might be your last chance to put your feet up for awhile!

Get Ready to Dive In!
In the shadow of midterm grades, you may be facing academic uncertainty and feeling a strong desire to improve your grades or may be well pleased with your performance and eager to maintain your success. Either way, final exams can be critical to the outcome of your semester and freshman year!  Therefore, in between Easter Egg Hunts, it might be wise to take some time to view the final exam schedule and to identify a study plan that will enable you to keep your head above water into the next month.  Consider the following questions in determining your final exam prep plan:
  • Do you have your most challenging exams on the same day?  
  • Will your workload be most intense during the beginning of the week or at the end?  
  • How much breathing room do you have in between exams?   
  • Are your finals comprehensive or just like any other test?  
  • How do you intend to prepare? Write down what specific tasks you will need to perform to prepare for each exam (For example: reread Chapters 7-12, make and study flash cards, write test questions, master vocabulary, learn the Krebs get the idea!)  The more you can break it down, the more you can plan your study time!

Have a Plan to Keep Your Head Above Water!
Once you have identified what tasks you will need to perform in each class to ace your finals, plan which days you will dedicate to each task.  Everyone has a preferred method for future planning, but I recommend writing it on a monthly calendar or in your daily planner.  You can even print a calendar offline for free!  Here's one for both April and May!  If you start this early, you won't have to do much every day and even if the content of your course doesn't lend itself to exam prep a month ahead, you will have a clear idea of how many hours you will need to devote in the weeks leading up to exams.  Also, identify if any tasks or classes will be a particular challenge for you.  Seek tutoring and talk to your professors to optimize your performance!

Seek Support to Stay Afloat!
  • Identify if any tasks or classes will be a particular challenge for you.  Seek tutoring and talk to your professors to optimize your performance!
  • Set up study groups or identify a classmate to prepare with you.
  • Come to The CAS Advising Center for help with study planning, skill and to connect with resources!

Katie Robinson
CAS Academic Advisor