Academic Advising & Career Help
California State University, Fullerton
Department of Communications
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Dr. Swanson's 'Big 7' Academic Advising Recommendations:
Thank you for coming to me for academic advising help. I want to be a good source of information and guidance. At the same time, it’s your degree. You get to make the decisions about what kinds of experiences you want to have, and where this degree will take you. I will help you get the information you need and make recommendations, but you make the decisions. Here’s a checklist of 'Big 7' ideas that I think are important:
- Have an advising folder or notebook. Keep all your advising correspondence and information in one place. This folder should contain: A catalog (ideally, a printed copy), the major check sheet, copies of your placement exams/ exam scores, copies of any correspondence from me or the university about advising, and all other documents related to your academic progress and path toward graduation. Keeping all these items together in one safe place will make it easier to find the answers you need when questions arise.
- Have intimate knowledge of the CSUF catalog. The catalog is the agreement between you and the university. Okay, it’s not the most exciting reading – but you need to know it well. Important note: The catalog that applies to you is the one that was in effect when you started here, not any earlier or later edition.
- Be aware of the push for you to “get done” as quickly as you can. In the difficult times we are in, you need to focus on your work and complete your degree as quickly and efficiently as you can. This does not mean taking 21 units each semester. Instead, it means planning ahead and thinking intelligently about your options. Do not spend any more time (or money) to be a student than you absolutely need to. At the same time, don’t hurry to finish and miss the information and experiences that you will need to start your career. The Department of Communications will not waive prerequisites so you can finish your degree sooner.
- Bookmark the important advising web pages on your computer. CSUF has done a great job of putting academic advising resources online. Make sure you review these sites and keep them bookmarked for easy reference. When you have an advising question, start with the web. If you can’t find the answer, go to the COMM Advising Center or come see me!
- Have an ongoing academic plan. Have a plan for the classes you want to take as you make progress toward graduation. This plan should be ‘written in pencil’ so it’s flexible. But it should also be solid enough so that you anticipate what might be happening in your academic life in both the immediate future (as in, next semester) as well as in the somewhat distant future (as in, next year). See #3 and #4 above.
- Be aware of the mandatory graduation check. The Office of Academic Programs recently expanded its campus-wide mandatory academic advising. Any student who has completed between 75 and 84 academic units will be assigned a “Graduation Advisement Hold” to prevent further course enrollment. Students will receive notification of the mandatory advising and a link to register for a workshop. College-based Graduation Specialists, in collaboration with the different academic advisement center advisors, will offer 105 advising workshops to this specific set of students, so students can affirm the courses needed to complete their degrees. Upon attendance at a workshop, the student’s advisement hold will be lifted.
- Have fun! This should be the most exciting time of your life. You are more independent than you’ve ever been, and yet you have the most freedom you will ever have in your adult life. Enjoy yourself! Relish the learning experience. Take some classes in subject areas you want to learn more about, just for fun. Take some classes that challenge you to grow in new ways. Don’t feel like you “must” complete your studies in a set period of time. Sure, tuition is expensive (I’m still paying off my college loans!) but you’ll never have another chance to do this. Make the most of it.