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Avoiding Graduation Horror Stories

Jennifer Jackson and Brooke Burger
Arts and Entertainment Editor and Managing Editor

   The best life lesson you’ll ever learn is: depend on no one but yourself. If you walk through life expecting others to look out for your best interest, you should prepare yourself for a lifetime of disappointment.

   By now, I’m sure you or someone you know has a graduation horror story to tell. A friend of mine informed me of a senior attending UAM who is unable to graduate this May due to a lack of hours. Her story aroused my curiosity, and I checked into my own affairs.

   I studied my transcript and discovered I only had 39 of the required 40 hours at a 3000 level or above. According to Associate Registrar Carol Dolberry, most students do not graduate when they plan because they did not meet the 40 upper-level hour requirement. Unlike some, I was able to catch my mishap before it was too late.

   When I reached 90 total hours, I had to submit a signed degree audit before I could register for classes. Once I had a degree audit, I was able to clearly see what requirements I had completed, and more importantly the remaining requirements I needed. I began to wonder why I hadn’t done this sooner.

   Dolberry said students should submit a degree audit before they earn 90 hours, but after 70. Yet no one ever recommended that I complete a degree audit by the time I earned 70 hours. I never came across this information in the university catalogs either.

   Though it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to make sure he/she will graduate on time, advisors should try to inform all their advisees of recommendations, such as the one above, that will benefit them in planning their graduation. By no means is it an advisor’s job to baby and cradle their students, but it is their job to advise and steer their students in the right direction.

   However, you cannot assume that your advisor is going to tell you everything you need to know; you know how the saying goes when it comes to assuming things. You must take a proactive stance in your academic progress.

   “Students should start planning for graduation from the first moment they register for college,” Dolberry said. “While the plan may change along the way, the goal of graduating should remain the focus.”

   You should read the university catalog and become familiar with all of your specific degree requirements. At least one year prior to graduation, you should meet with your advisor to review your transcript and a degree audit to make a plan for your remaining coursework. You should also check your degree audit for mistakes and report any corrections or changes to your advisor or the Registrar’s office.

   If you have any questions about information in the catalogs or your degree audit, you should see your advisor or go by the Registrar’s office. You can access the university catalogs online at http://www.uamont.edu/catalogs06.html. Because degree requirements change with every catalog, you should choose the catalog based on the first year you enrolled at UAM.

   Remember that you are the only one responsible for your academic progress and a successful graduation. The last thing you want is to assume you’ve graduated, find a good job and lose it because you or your advisor missed something.


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ŠThe Voice 2007
01/13/2008 03:26:25 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/4_23/comm.htm