Academic Advising

Basic Responsibilities and Expectations for Students

(Based on list as approved by faculty on 17 November 2015)

 

Advising between a faculty member and students can entail many dimensions of life; for purposes of the basic list of responsibilities and expectations for academic advising we have limited our definition to the knowledge, skills, and actions needed for a student to complete the academic requirements for graduation. While many students will have larger, even mentoring-type relationships with their advisors, this definition recognizes the practical limits on academic advisors regarding planning beyond their areas of expertise.

 

The lists below are meant to focus on the student side of this relationship - the things each student needs to have some mastery over in order to track and be sure of successful completion of their academic degree requirements. Faculty advisors can and should be able to help clarify requirements and explain the choices, but some aspects of academic planning remain of necessity the responsibilities of the students. Ultimately, completing the requirements for graduation can only be done by the student.

 

For all aspects of the academic program, the Office of Records remains the most authoritative source of information, and anyone, whether faculty or students, should consult the Office of Records when particular information is not found, or is not entirely clear, in published sources like the college Undergraduate Catalog, which includes course descriptions, fees, prerequisites, program requirements, and so on.

 

Again, the lists below focus on the side of these responsibilities and expectations within the purview of students at Covenant College. There is a parallel list for faculty advisors to help them assist their students.

 

Things Students Should Know or Learn

  1. Ultimately, understanding and completing the requirements for graduation is each student’s responsibility. A faculty advisor can provide tools, measures and advice. But it is up to each student to use the tools provided to track his or her progress and to plan to fulfill the graduation requirements.
  2. Graduation requirements
    1. 126 credit hours total
    2. Core course requirements, adjusted for major if appropriate
    3. Programs and policies of your department and specific requirements for your major and any minor you are pursuing
    4. By the end of the sophomore year (58 credit hours or more), students previously undecided are required to declare a major
    5. Where to find information on programs (the Undergraduate Catalog, other sources if needed)
  3. An 8 semester/4 year plan for your core, major, minor and elective requirements
    1. Sequences of courses, when prerequisites apply
    2. Know when and how often key courses for graduation are offered (some courses are offered only in one semester each year, or once every other year or more)
    3. Department check lists if appropriate
    4. Some programs and transfer students will, of course, lengthen or shorten the “8 semester/4 year plan”
  4. How to use Banner
    1. Transcripts
    2. Degree Evaluation
    3. Registration
  5. Career and graduate program possibilities for one’s major - perhaps in a general sense early on, with growing specifics as one approaches graduation. This would include awareness of resources provided through
    1. your major department, and
    2. the Center for Calling and Career
  6. About internships if applicable; those done for academic credit usually require several weeks of pre-internship preparation, application and approval. This includes awareness of resources provided through
    1. your academic department, and/or
    2. the Center for Calling and Career

 

Things Students Should Do

  1. Contact and meet with Advisor at least once a semester, more often if questions arise that need discussion
    1. Read over the sections in the Undergraduate Catalog for your Core, major and minor requirements
    2. Come to preregistration advising with course selections, options, and draft schedule
    3. If you have a double major or interest in the MAT program, check with second major advisor or Education advisor about needed requirements
    4. Recognize that a change in course selections after advisor approval runs the risk of jeopardizing your academic progress – if you change course selections after your advisor has approved a list, contact the advisor to verify that this will not cause disruption
  2. If you want to drop a class in the middle of a semester, first evaluate and discuss with your advisor how this will affect your academic progress before proceeding; check with the Records and Financial Aid Offices about any other implications, especially if change puts you below full time status.
  3. Use 8 semester plan or other resources to keep track of one’s progress and plan for coming semesters
  4. Use tools in Banner for reviewing transcripts and doing degree evaluations
  5. Review progress using Banner and/or other tracking assets at least once each semester
    1. During your junior year, complete graduation application by reviewing degree evaluation; go over with your advisor before he or she signs your graduation application
  6. Consider Post-Graduation Plans and Possibilities with Advisor
    1. Discuss at least broad career options with advisor at different points in one’s academic career, and ask about what previous majors have done
    2. As a senior, discuss career specifics of next steps with advisor
      1. To help get a sense of your plan for the next step, and
      2. To help your major department keep track of where graduating seniors are heading
    3. If a lack of direction is the problem, make contact with the Center for Calling and Career to see what particular assistance they might be able to offer

 

POSSIBLE Sample Plan for Student to use with Academic Advising over Four Years during pre-registration or other scheduled meeting with an academic advisor:

 

Year 1

  1. Investigate requirements of your major and any minor (if chosen) and discuss them with your advisor - including coursework, internships, projects, student teaching, etc.
  2. Become familiar with applicable sections of the Undergraduate Catalog (hard copy and online), learn the role of the Office of Records, how to register for classes.
  3. Inquire about the MAT program if you are interested in teaching. Find out who the appropriate member of the Education department is for initial contact.
  4. Map out a tentative 4-year plan of courses (8 semester plan if available), recognizing that some shifting is likely to occur depending on available courses.
  5. Consider and discuss Intercultural Experience options with your advisor.
  6. If “Undecided,” or considering a change in majors:
    1. Investigate and then discuss your interests, gifts, etc., with your advisor;
    2. Select at least one course to toward a possible major each semester;
    3. Make sure you are on track to meet Core requirements.
  7. Discuss your academic performance and challenges, and possible career paths with your academic advisor.

 

Year 2

  1. Evaluate and discuss the "fit" between you and your major (Fall).
  2. Check progress on 4-yr plan.
  3. Learn to use the Degree Evaluation tool in Banner.
  4. Plan how to meet the Intercultural Experience requirement.
  5. Discuss the basics needed to complete a SIP in your major.

Year 3

  1. Check progress on 4-yr plan.
  2. Run Degree Evaluation each semester before going into preregistration advising.
  3. Discuss SIP topic (Spring).
  4. Complete Graduation Application (Spring of Jr. year).

Year 4

  1. Finalize SIP topic; choose SIP reader(s).
  2. Run final Degree Evaluation.
  3. Confirm graduation date.

Ongoing

  1. Be aware of your grades and GPA.
  2. Discuss future plans, including graduate school and career opportunities.
  3. Discuss possible internships or job-shadowing, if applicable.
  4. Pursue services at the College, as needed (e.g., Center for Calling and Career, Priesthill Center, Center for Student Success).