Another look at AU Scheduling
By Joey Krassner
Everyone take a deep breath. Most of you have finished signing up for your Spring semester classes. Some of you planned this out for weeks, maybe even months, while others of you put forth less effort than it takes to pick up the Postmates you delivered outside your residence hall. Either way, it’s hard to deny that regardless of how far you are into college, there is a significant learning curve when it comes to planning your classes in college. As AU students we have an urge to plan out every… single… class for every semester we spend at AU, but is that crazy? College is an investment in our future and since we spend a significant amount of money to come to AU, we want to have as much control over our investment as possible. But alas, planning is difficult and although some resources have personally helped me with my “four year plan,” friends and self-research have helped me the most.
Before entering my sophomore year, I was personally worried about some of the goals I wanted to achieve by the end of the school year. Ideally, I’d have an internship (still working on this), finish my prerequisites for study abroad since I plan on studying Fall of 2020, and the list goes on. Before the end of my freshman year, I planned my schedule so I would have at least one day free (I ended up getting two free days). I had help from my freshman advisor, but I wasn’t thinking too much into what classes I’d be taking beyond my sophomore year. I ended up getting all the classes I wanted and being pretty satisfied with them. There was only one problem; I had no idea what to expect after sophomore year. Yes, as an SIS major I have my thematics, capstone, and all that fun jazz that I learned about over conversations about my major, but I never had a good understanding of what I should anticipate for the rest of my time at AU. For these reasons I made an appointment with one the SIS peer advisors to figure out a four year plan as well as an SIS advisor to talk more about the classes I can take during my study abroad.
The peer advisor meeting was alright. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know with the exception of learning more about the classes required for sophomores. All in all, not very helpful, but the guy was friendly so that was helpful. Also it would be unfair to harshly judge the guy since I also have plans of obtaining a minor in art history. This is where I believe students begin to struggle when it comes to scheduling. Since most students are able to fit more than one major or minor in addition to one their current major, most students opt to pursue the extra major/minor. The problem with this is that if those majors or minors are in different schools (think of my example with international studies in SIS and art history in CAS) students that need help planning their schedule have to go to two different advisors and since these advisors can’t always coordinate with advisors from different departments, students are left in the middle to figure out how to schedule in two departments.
Yes, this choice to have an extra major or minor is optional, but with many students interested in expanding upon their current major, I wonder if it would be possible to create an office or program dedicated to helping students plan their schedules if they chose to graduate with more than one major. Funny enough I thought of a basic scheme for how this could work.
This service would most likely be run by students similar to that of the SIS peer advisors. These students would specialize in the schedule planning of different departments in accordance to their current majors or minors. For example, a student studying international studies in SIS and studying economics in CAS would specialize in the schedule planning for SIS and CAS. Since schools vary in the number of majors you can have, SIS has one undergraduate degree while CAS has over fifty, it would be best to have multiple students specializing in different aspects of each school. For CAS, these categories of specialization could be languages, visual arts, physical sciences, and the list could go on. Overall, this type of program, in which students help students interested in pushing themselves the extra educational mile would probably help students like myself who are stuck trying to navigate a more intricate college pathway.
Most of the information I learned about degree requirements and graduation requirements stem from students who are more knowledgeable than myself. I didn’t know that the amount of Habits of Mind (HOM) classes I have to take to study abroad was lowered from 3 to 2 and I didn’t know that I could only double count one art history class as a HOM. I learned all these things through either self-research or from friends. Now this doesn’t mean you should go out there and not use the resources because they’re inefficient, but what I’m saying is that the university should help facilitate a combination of the two for those interested in creating a more elaborate four year plan. I don’t expect my SIS advisor to know how to schedule a four year plan for someone who wants a minor in art history and likewise I don’t expect my CAS advisor to know my schedule in relation to SIS, but this shouldn’t mean that I, like many others, remain confused and lacking the resources to help me schedule. After all, if I wanted to be confused about scheduling at AU, I would have just signed up for a class in the Anderson computer lab.