Advising @ Union
Student Questions/Items for Consideration
when registering incoming students
- Create a schedule designed for first semester academic success
Is the schedule balanced? To the best degree the academic program's course schedule will allow, can we register the student for only one class that is out of their academic comfort zone?
- Try to balance the reading loads in the courses
For example, registering the student for both OT and NT at the same time can be challenging for the first-time students. Other examples may include History and World Lit in the same semester and taking any 1 and 2 classes in the same semester, i.e. History 111 and 112, ENG 201 and 202, etc. We understand that sometimes classes fill up and this balance is not always achievable!
- Stay Traditional
Put students in traditional fall classes in the fall and traditional spring classes in the spring whenever possible. For example, HIS 111 has several sections in the fall, but only 1-2 sections in the spring, whereas, HIS 112 has 1-2 sections in the fall, but several sections in the spring. This makes it easier when the student is trying to plan around particular classes.
- Ask "Do you have any AP, dual enrollment, or Community College transfer credits you will be having reviewed?"
Increasingly, students arrive to us having already taken a class like Written Comp (either AP, dual credit, CLEP, or Community College.) No credit is official until reviewed and applied by the university registrar. However, it is good to ask if they will have taken any dual credit, Community College or AP credits. Remind them to have the credits sent to the registrar, and avoid signing them up for a class they potentially don't need. It's amazing how many students forget about dual enrollment courses until you prompt them with the questions! On the other hand, if a student says "no," respond with, "That's okay - most freshmen are starting fresh just like you! We just double check before we get started." (We don't want the students to feel defensive or behind before they even begin at UU!)
- Hesitant about a course? Try the Hundley Center!
If a student seems hesitant about a course but they must take that course, remind them that we have an outstanding academic peer tutoring center called the Hundley Center. The Hundley Center opens one week after classes begin and is ready to establish relationships with students.
- Can they handle technology expectations?
If a class has high technology requirements or expectations, ask if they have a computer with internet access or time to visit the computer labs. If they are commuter and do not have wireless services, sometimes these classes can prove challenging due to lack of access to a computer or the internet.
- Working 20+ hours is a red flag
If a student discloses to you that they are working close to or over 20 hours a week, that is a red flag. If they work over 20 hours, they need "permission" from the Dean of Students office. (We will allow it, but traditionally those who work over 20 hours a week do not do well, and our team needs to show some "intrusive caring" to ensure they succeed.) Pass their name along to Kimberly Thornbury, and we will follow up with discretion and care.
- Disability Services
If they disclose to you that they have a disability, ensure they have connected with Jonathan Abernathy, Director for the Office of Disability Services so we can begin the process of accommodations. Ask them to call him at 731.661.6520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Don't fight them on not being a morning person. . .yet!
Ask students if they prefer morning or afternoon classes. The Hundley Center receives referrals on so many students who aren't making it to 8am classes because they aren't morning people! To start with, put them in classes when they are most alert and at their best. We know they WILL have to take 8am classes. But if there is flexibility, give us a semester to connect, educate, and layer the concepts about college sleep habits and attendance expectations to late sleepers!
- Stick with the core
As much as possible, try and stick with the core, allowing for 1-2 classes in the major. Perhaps due to many dual credits coming in, we know of several entering freshman who loaded up their schedules with classes in their major, only to find that they were not suited to succeed in that particular major. As you can imagine, this made for a near existential and /or vocational crisis at midterms (e.g., "Can I handle college life? Is this the best career for me? etc.) Maybe the vocational direction was still sound, but the student needed to mature a bit more.
- Undecided Students
Currently, just over half of students entering the university as an undecided student continue on to graduate from Union. Many will go to your table because they may feel pressured to declare a major or are sent your way. Try and determine the level of interest in this major, and again, try and stick with the core to give them the first semester to take advantage of tools to help them decide their major.
- Try to read the student's comfort level
Obviously they will need to take classes outside their comfort zone. But if we can provide a schedule best suited for academic success their first semester, it will give us time to get to know the students and educate them about our academic support services which they may need in future semesters.
- Requirements for major
If your major requires a minimum GPA or ACT score, let the advisee know at the first advising session. If the ACT score is too low, develop a way to track the student. We may need to sensitively talk with them about considering alternate majors. Our aim is to keep them at Union even if they are not the best fit for the major.
Curriculum Maps/Sample Schedules