Scheduling day is here again


Denny Patterson

The day students either love or hate is right around the corner.

Scheduling day, formerly known as advising day, is the day when classes are canceled and students meet with their faculty advisor to go over their schedules for the upcoming semester. Meetings will take place on Tuesday, April 9. In order for students to sign up for classes, they must meet with their adviser.

The role of an academic advisor is to help students develop a plan of study, offer advice and counsel them throughout their years at Millikin. A student’s advisor is a faculty member within the department of the student’s major area of interest.

Schedules and course listings for next semester are currently posted on MUOnline. Students are encouraged to start looking at classes and outline their schedules. A helpful tool is the electronic degree audit. Students will need to go to the “what if analysis,” which is one of the numerous links that is posted on the advising webpage on millikin.edu. The “what if analysis” will give students a step-by-step outline showing what criteria has been met, and what hasn’t, for their major.

The advising webpage offers links to practice schedules, links to courses that satisfy degree requirements, charts outlining pre-requisites, doubling dipping rules and much more.

“Students have to pay attention to where they are at in the process,” Assistant Registrar Karen Klein said. “Procedurally wise, students can look at their degree audit and pull up their transcript to see them side-by-side. Students should let the Registrar office know if something isn’t calculated and counts as something else. They should have a clear picture as to where they are at.”

Scheduling day might sound fine and dandy to some, but there are often problems, or “fatal errors,” that erupt. Klein believes it might be helpful for students to meet with their advisor in advance to make sure they find out when they can sign up for an appointment. Signing up for classes online is different for each group of students. In order to sign up for classes, students should receive an email notification stating that they were added to their group sign up date.

“When students can’t get online to sign up when they need to, it’s an absolute mess,” Klein said. “Remind your advisor to click you in.”

Students should also make sure there is no hold on their accounts. All holds must be taken care of before scheduling. Holds can include anything from parking tickets to the health center needing immunization records.

A huge “fatal error” Klein has seen over the years is when students drop a class and don’t replace it. Students should maintain at least an average of 15 credit hours per semester. Many will want to do this for financial aid purposes, and it’s a good way to stay on track. Degrees are set up for four years, and every department has an eight semester plan of study.

“Make a plan,” Klein said. “Work with your adviser. Talk about what makes sense, what should I take over the summer, what courses might transfer in if needed, etc.”

Not only Klein, but senior John Blakeman, who is the Vice President of Academic Affairs for Student Senate, encourages students to seek resources such as the Office of Student Success, who have worked on many of the links and also created archives for all of the general requirements. As scheduling day is a long process, Klein and Blakeman also believe it is critical for students to meet with their advisors more than just on scheduling day.

“Scheduling day should be cut and dry; here’s what I’m doing,” Blakeman said. “Advisers have a lot of students, especially in some departments. They don’t have time for a thirty minute conversation when they have 50 other people. Throughout the semester, it’s important to meet with them.”
Meeting advisers throughout the semester gives students the chance to ask questions such as, “Am I getting the courses I need?” “Am I on track?” “Am I missing any prerequisites?” It is also an opportunity to talk about graduate schools and have career planning conversations. Advisers will get to know the student better as a person, thus giving them a better assessment.

Student Senate will be working closely with the Registrar Office and the Office of Student Success to monitor how students go about scheduling day. Student Senate wants reassurance that students are taking full advantage of resources that will benefit them in the long run.

It is also wise to keep in mind that students need to have their classes picked and schedules outlined before meeting with their adviser. The adviser can help by knowing what pieces they need and help juggle a few things around, but the appointments will be useless if a student goes in with nothing in mind.

“I know of several advisors who have sent students away for coming without an outline. This is something you might do in an advising session, but scheduling day it’s down to business. It’s your ultimate responsibility,” Blakeman said.

It is not emphasized enough that when it’s time to go online to sign up, a lot can go wrong.

“There are many students competing to get into the same classes,” Klein said. “Be prepared, pick alternate options. Students get so thrown off when they think they have to have this one particular class. Don’t think about the major required courses, build around it.”

Students who miss their scheduling appointments should contact their adviser as soon as possible.