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Surviving Priority Advising: Your Recipe for Success

8 Mar

The priority advising period can feel really stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Planning ahead can help you get the most out of your time with your academic advisor. If you are thinking of switching majors, start the process early so that you won’t run into issues during registration.

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared student
  • 1 insightful advisor
  • 1-19 units (add to taste)
  • 1 list of possible classes
  • 1 list of questions
  • 15 minutes of 1:1 time

Instructions

  1. Find a time to meet with your advisor. Check Wise Advising to see when your advisor has appointments. Most advising offices email out a schedule of when you can come in for advising, so look in your CatMail if you aren’t sure. In general, this will be the week before you register. Some advising offices also switch to walk-in only during priority advising, so plan ahead! Walk-in hours are on a first come, first-served basis
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  2. Open your advisement report. Getting there is simple: log into UAccess and click on “My Academics” to the left of your course schedule. Click on the first link “My advisement report”.
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  3. Create a draft 4-year plan. Some departments post sample 4 year plans that you can use as a rough guideline. If you’ve already created a plan with your advisor, skip this step. Some things to take into consideration: Pre-requisites for upper division courses, total units needed to keep a scholarship, pursuing multiple degrees, any minors, and completing all Gen Ed requirements. Your plan may look different from the sample one depending on your math placement, or any transfer/exam credits counting towards different requirements, that is ok!

  4. Decide which requirements you absolutely need to complete next semester. Use the search function in UAccess to see when any pre-requisite courses are offered. Try to get them out of the way, if possible. This will help you stay on track to graduate on time. I like to use the “browse course catalog” feature that lets you search by letter, but it’s all up to personal preference.

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    There are two ways to search for open courses in UAccess!

  5. Find those courses on UAccess and add them to your shopping cart. Just click the green “select” button and then hit next and it will be added. This is helpful for your advisor because they can see what’s in your shopping cart and give you advice based off of what you’ve selected.

  6. Decide which other courses you want to fill your semester with. Pick ones that sound interesting and fulfill requirements. Add multiple back-ups to your shopping cart in case they fill up on registration day.

  7. Make sure you will have enough travel time to make it to class on time. Sometimes there’s no way around it, but if you can avoid running from one class to the other because you only have ten minutes to make it across campus you will thank yourself later.

  8. Check for any holds on your account. You can see thesA by going to your homepage on UAccess and looking at the right-hand column. Click the “details” button to see more specifics and get information about how to clear a hold. If you aren’t sure what to do, be sure to bring it up to your advisor and they will point you in the right direction.
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  9. Write down any questions you have for your advisor and bring the list with you to your appointment. I often forget at least one thing I needed to ask my advisor, having it all ready to go beforehand helps me get the answers I need quickly. If you do forget a question, email them as soon as you remember and follow-up if you do not get a response in 24-48 hours.
  10. Get to your appointment early. This is especially true for walk-in hours, if you have limited availability you will want to get on the list as soon as possible. Most departments also have a check-in process for appointments, so arriving early helps make sure that does not cut into your time with your advisor.

-Gabriela

My Registration Nightmare

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!

-Amanda

 

The Gen Ed that Won Our Hearts

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!

-Amanda

 

This Again?

17 Apr

As we all know, the morning of registration is a toughie — not only because UAwifi normally crashes (for those who live on campus), UAccess is normally “loading” for 15 minutes, but also because all of this happens at 6:00AM. 

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The day of registration is always the same for me…I wake up at 5:50AM (but still have an alarm set for 5:55AM, just as a back up… I don’t know what’s going to happen!). By 5:58AM I’m logged onto UAccess and in my Shopping Cart.

I have done 7 of these registrations, and overall I have been able to register for MOST of the classes I had wanted. That being said, my first attempt was NOT smooth sailing.

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Fall semester my freshman year (my first time doing the morning registration), my roommate and I woke up at 5:50AM and got ready for this process that we had heard so much about.. Once 6:00AM hit, both of us had some loading issues but by 6:05AM she was done…  I, on the other hand, hadn’t gotten past the first page. By 6:08AM I was freaking out. 

Panic

That semester I ended up having to register for my courses on my phone. But by 6:15AM I was enrolled in most of my courses that had been in my shopping cart. 

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This process is challenging but it gets better as your class ranking increases. Good luck with the battle in the mean time! 

–Elena

Change Your Course With A Summer Course!

6 Mar

Now I know taking summer classes doesn’t seem like the most glamorous way to spend one’s summer break, but hear me out!

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Summer courses at the U of A are scheduled in 2 sessions, each class lasting 5 weeks. Now this means that you’ll be learning the material at a much faster pace than you normally would during the Spring/Fall Semester, and they will most likely occur more than 2-3 times per week. But don’t let that intimidate you! Though this may sound a bit overwhelming, when you’re only taking 1 or 2 classes, it really isn’t all that bad.

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Last summer, I stayed in Oregon with my mother for about a month. And during that time period I really didn’t have much to do considering my mom was at work for most of the day. So I applied for financial aid (yes, there is such a thing for summer courses) and once I got the A-Okay, I enrolled in 2 online classes since I knew I would be out of the state. So even if you won’t be in Tucson for the summer, taking online courses is always a great way to keep you busy!

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Because I was taking 2 classes, versus 4 or 5, my workload was SO much lighter, and incredibly easy to handle while still having time to relax during my break. I got A’s in both class, which raised my GPA by almost .2 points! And we all know how beautiful that can be 🙂

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So try not to write off summer courses right away, because it’s a manageable and efficient way to “point” your GPA in the right direction and get ahead, while still having the time to enjoy your well deserved summer break.

Best of all, registration for summer courses is now available on  UAccess!

Cheers,

Casey

When What Can Go Wrong, Goes Wrong

14 Nov

Registration comes and goes. All that stress, excitement, tears.

Kristen-Bell-Laughing-to-Crying

For some, registration is a success and celebrations happen. For others, not so much. If anything, the end of your registration period has left you even more flustered and confused than before. For those of you with success stories, congratulations… you have survived this madness that will continue to repeat while you’re here at the U of A.

Now for those of you who found yourselves stumped and couldn’t defeat this monster of registration… don’t lose hope! Sometimes, it happens to the best of us. The important thing now is to understand what went wrong and how to move on from those common registration hiccups. That way we can join those registration celebrations too!

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These turn out to be the most common registration obstacles:

  • Classes are full and, therefore, closed
  • Holds
  • Pre-requisites
  • Time conflicts

For each of these evils, there’s a reason why it happens. They don’t simply exist to ruin your life (although it may feel that way). Journey with me as I break them apart and provide possible ways to proceed and potentially conquer the evil.

Evil #1: Classes closed because they reached their capacity.

For this one, there are a few different methods to best this evil. First and foremost, the reason that funky blue square appears under the status column is because the number of seats available have all been filled.    Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 11.37.42 AM

 

This means the following: 1) you either leave it in your shopping cart and await the glorious day that it might open up again or 2) talk to the professor and ask that they add you.

For option 1, there is a good amount of time between now and the first day of classes in Spring 2015. Students in the course may drop and change their schedules around. This means that if you are aware and ready, you can potentially enroll in the once someone drops it. My recommendation is leave that course in your shopping cart and check regularly to see if the status goes from a blue square to a green circle. Once that happens, enroll away! Also, keep in mind that the first week of classes is somewhat of a trial period for students. During this time you, still have the ability to change your schedule, so some people might find that the course you’re waiting for isn’t their cup of tea and will drop it… leaving it nice and open for you to enroll.

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Option 2, on the other hand, is something you can do now by contacting the professor and expressing interest in being in his/her class next semester. Sometimes they’ll keep you in mind when seats become available. In order to proceed with the professor route, you’ll have to have them sign an Add/Drop form to then turn into the administration office. This is the manual method of enrolling in courses.

Evil #2: Registration holds on your account.

There are different types of holds and different ways to clear them. These are common reasons for such holds:

  • Past-due debts: You owe money.
  • Academic holds: You are mandated to meet with your advisor…why haven’t you?
  • Campus Health holds: did you ever turn in your immunization records?

These holds can range in complexity and reasons, but at the end of the day they won’t let you register so take care of them as soon as possible. For any of the holds, if you click on them on your UAccess account, you should be able to see what the holds are all about and who to contact to get them fixed. Usually, financial holds are good topics of discussion with the Bursar’s office or financial aid office. For academic holds go to your advisor or department of study. Lastly, Campus Health holds… well go to Campus Health for more information.

Evil #3: Pre-requisites.

For this one there aren’t many alternatives. If you don’t meet the requirements, you simply just need to do those things before you can enroll in such classes.

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Evil #4: Time conflicts.

This one is another of those evils that you can take care of on your own or just will have to deal with. Time conflicts happen when your 9am Jazz class is at the same time as that 9am Puppets and Dragons class you want to enroll in. FYI- Not sure if that actually exists, but it serves the purpose of making my point. Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

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You’ll have to choose and hope for the best. Or find other courses that don’t conflict in time. If you’re not sure which ones are conflicting, UAccess let’s you know using the number of the class when it gives you the big red “X”.

All these hiccups are common and most of us will undergo at least one in our time as a Wildcat here. They might make you feel like this….

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but the important thing is to not let them go unnoticed and unattended. Make sure that you look into them ASAP so you can enroll in all of the classes you need.

Final note: Make your advisor a primary contact. Save their number on your phone. Make them your homie, in the most respectful manner of course. I promise you that they’ll have the best answers for all of these registration mishaps!

Final note #2: Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and ASK! If you don’t know how to fix something or what it means… simply ASK! Someone out there knows and it’s your responsibility to find these answers!

Best of luck Wildcats. Bear Down for Spring 2015.

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– Lucero

Living Long and Prospering After Registration

14 Nov

Picking classes is pretty difficult. You have to find the class you want/need at a time you can manage, and hopefully with a professor you get along with. You then have to do this 5 more times with other classes and hope that they all line up! Managing this is enough to upset anyone, even Spock! Fortunately, after all of the madness, you get a perfect schedule that will allow just enough time to get from Social Sciences to Harvill without dying…or do you?

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More often than not, students change their schedules after the initial registration week. Why you ask? Well, things come up. Some of those things are: getting a job, finding a better class/class time, changing a major. All of these things could cause a change in your “perfect” schedule, but an important thing to remember is to NOT freak out! Remember to practice the Vulcan ritual of kolinahr to keep calm!

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Change happens all the time, and as a college student, knowing how to adapt could save your butt. Now that you have your first registration week under your belt, you’re a pro at registering for classes! Just take the skills you used during registration week and find that new perfect schedule.

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Remember that registering for classes is the fun part! And as Spock says “Live long and prosper”.

Spock 2– Christine

 

Hot off the Presses!

10 Nov

Freshman priority registration is here! Check out our newest edition of Wildcat Connections.

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13 Oct

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Registration is upon us Wildcats! From registration dates to tips to get you through all the chaos, this edition will get you ready for your Spring 2015 registration time!

Expect the Unexpected: Registration Day

10 Oct

Registration day, I’m not going to lie, is a scary experience. It’s the one day out of the semester when every single student (in your cohort) is up at 6 am in order to get first pick for the classes they want/need. But you should be ahead of the pack and get up at 5:50 am so you can get signed in and ready to go.  When that magical moment comes, all you need to do is hit the button!

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Here are some tips to help you expect the unexpected and register like a pro!

1. When the website crashes!

I will guarantee you that 99.9% of the time, the UAccess website will crash because every student is trying to access it at the exact same time! Don’t panic…BREATHE! This happens every semester of every year, but we’ll just have to work with it. Unfortunately, you need to just wait. You’re basically “in line” to be able to register, so if you sign in again or refresh the page….you’ll get bumped until later in the line. So, sit back and relax and let your computer do its thing.                                                                                        

  *Who knew that a simple symbol could be the source of so much frustration?!

2. When the classes you want are no longer available!

Sadly, this happens very often. This is why it is good to have a back up plan in case you can not get into the courses you want. For example, if you really want the 2pm chemistry lecture, I hope you get in but, just in case you don’t…also add the 8am chemistry lecture. I know…YUCK! However, it is better if you get the course at a different time (even if it may not be so convenient) rather than not get into the class at all.
Just in case you don’t know when your registration day is, log on to UAccess. On the right hand side, you will see a blue panel with very important information along with your registration date.
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Lastly, good luck!
-Rebecca