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Helpful Suggestions from the Advisement Staff --
and a Few Warnings


First, some helpful suggestions...

A primary concern of The College at Brockport is helping students successfully complete their degree programs.  This means that most individuals, beginning with the professor in the classroom, the academic advisor, the staff of the Counseling Center, Chairpersons and Deans, are usually able to answer questions, explain options, interpret policy, and lend support.  Students should realize, however, that the primary responsibility for meeting the degree requirements rests with the student.  Thus, you will need to develop a capability for self-help.  Some suggestions to aid you in developing this capability follow:

  • Familiarize yourself with the Undergraduate Studies Catalog in effect at the time you enrolled; it describes the graduation requirements for your program.  If that program changes while you are enrolled at Brockport, you will be given the option of keeping the requirements in effect at the time of your most recent matriculation or completing the new requirements of the program.  If you withdraw from Brockport and are later readmitted, you will be required to follow the program in effect at the time of your readmittance. Also, familiarize yourself with the academic regulations, college policies, resources, and student rights listed in the Student Policies Web Site, available at http://www.brockport.edu/policies.
  • If you took any college courses or exams (AP, CLEP, International Baccalaureate) prior to attending Brockport, you must have official copies of your transcripts sent to Brockport as soon as possible.
  • Throughout the semester, invest time in getting to know your advisor.  Your relationship with your advisor will benefit immensely from the investment of time essential to developing trust and concern.  Your advisor cannot help you to reach a particular goal if he or she does not know you have one!  Write down your advisor’s name, office number, e-mail address, and phone number so that you may contact him or her when you have questions.
  • Keep a copy of each form, letter, grade slip, exam, project, etc. in a special folder.  You may need this material as a reference at a later time.
  • Keep each semester’s course listings until the end of the Drop/Add Period of the next semester.
  • Be sure you understand all graduation requirements.  All degree programs at Brockport have a General Education component as well as courses specific to each major.  The courses you select to fulfill the General Education requirements give you a broader base for your education and opportunities to explore major or career areas that may be new to you.
  • Be sure you understand the requirements for your major.  For example, you may need to take a number of prerequisite or corequisite courses.  These courses, which while possibly not in the major area of study, provide a broad base of knowledge in support of the major.  Requirements for majors and specific degree programs can be found in the Undergraduate Studies Catalog.  Work closely with your advisor to ensure you’re on track!
  • Familiarize yourself with your Degree Audit Report (DARS), periodically checking it as each semester goes on.  Don’t simply rely on your advisorRemember that you are ultimately responsible to see that you meet all degree requirements.  Also, check to make sure that any courses you’re transferring in have articulated the way you believe they should.  If not, speak to your advisor or Academic Advisement; you may need to have departments review specific courses for additional or different credits.
  • Tape a copy of the semester’s academic calendar to the door of your room.  Circle in red all the important dates, e.g., last day to drop a course without academic penalty.
  • Learn how to compute your grade point average. For more  information on grades and how to calculate your GPA, see: http://www.brockport.edu/firstyear/gpa.html
  • If any semester GPA is below 2.0, make an immediate appointment with your academic advisor before or during the add period of the following semester.  Make plans to repeat the same courses in which you received your low grades.  NOTE:  Before you sign up to repeat any course, check guidelines regarding repeat of courses and State Financial Aid eligibility.
  • All students with financial aid should keep in close communication with the Financial Aid Office regarding application dates, requirements, academic progress, and academic status.
  • Start career explorations NOW.  Don’t wait!


Now, here are a few warnings.

Whenever you have formal policies and procedures mixed with human beings, misunderstandings are bound to arise.  When they have to do with academic programs, the cost of misunderstandings can range from mild inconvenience to moderate catastrophe.  If you pay attention to the following warning list of frequent Brockport blunders, you may well avoid paying any of the costs at all:

  • Don't assume all transcripts have been received. You must request them from every source from which you obtained credit.
    Your transfer credits will not be finalized until all transcripts have arrived and been evaluated. If you transferred with an associate's degree, but your transcripts are not in, you will be not be able to register as a junior and will have to wait to register with freshmen, since you will have no transfer credits on your Brockport record.

  • When dropping from full-time to part-time status, remember to consider implications for your financial aid.
    You could jeopardize both state (TAP) and federal (Title IV) aid. Check in Financial Aid!!!

  • Repeating a course at another college or university and expecting it to remove the previous grade earned at The College at Brockport.
    Courses may transfer, but grades don't. Old grades are figured in your GPA. If you want that grade removed, take the course at Brockport, not at another college.

  • Don't make assumptions about transfer credits or requirements based on other transfer students.
    While this may work in some cases, each student's transfer credits must be considered an individual package since decisions regarding credits are dependent on such variables as the semester the course was taken - and where - and date of matriculation at The College at Brockport.

  • Take responsibility for your degree progress and take charge of the course of your education.
    Advisors are a great resource for you, but ultimately, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are on track with your program, not theirs. Take interest in degree requirements and program opportunities, and most importantly, ask questions!

  • Know the advantages of your particular major or program.
    Some majors/programs have preregistration opportunities (referred to as "majors reservation") that allow you to register for departmental courses before full registration begins. If you do not preregister, you may end up registering for whatever is left at final registration as opposed to what you need. Contact your major department or Academic Advisement to find out which programs allow preregistration.

  • Repeating a course in which you previously received a passing grade to improve your grade point average (GPA).
    This is only a concern if you receive TAP or other state aid. Be safe by registering for 12 or more credits in addition to the repeated class. Sometimes this blunder is not reversible. Students have lost all of their state financial aid for a semester.

  • Dropping a course without formally notifying the Office of Registration and Records.
    If you simply stop attending a course without formally dropping it, you will probably end up with a failing grade.

  • Verify the "transferability" of a course BEFORE signing up for something at another college.
    First of all, make sure you have not exceeded the maximum number of transfer credits. You can transfer only a maximum of 64 credits from a two-year college, and 90 credits from a four-year college or university. Secondly, make sure you fill out a Student Course Approval form with the Office of Academic Advisement to ensure that the course will transfer into Brockport.

  • Don't wait to repeat courses with an "E" grade; it's the fastest way to raise your GPA.
    Since the most recent grade replaces the first, repeating immediately is the easiest way to avoid academic difficulty and to raise your GPA. As mentioned before, however, make sure you know the rules regarding repeating a course.

  • Taking a course on an "S/U" basis (satisfactory/ unsatisfactory) to "save your GPA".
    If you think you may just "squeak by" in a course and you don't want to risk your GPA on a low grade, a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory can be helpful, but be aware of the rules and ramifications! You can only take a S/U grade in a course if it does not fill a major or General Education requirement. Also, know that it may not entirely help you, depending on what the intent of the courses is. If you earn the equivalent of a "C-" or "D" in the course, you will earn a "U," which is failing. It won't hurt your GPA, but it won't help you graduate either.

  • Don't just assume your DARS is accurate; read it critically!
    Simply assuming that your DARS report is always accurate. Read it carefully, and discuss any questions with your advisor, or stop in the Office of Academic Advisement.  Course substitutions and waivers have to be entered manually and need to be reflected on the DARS report.  You also want to be sure all of your information is displayed accurately.

  • Know that if your leave the College for an extended period of time, your requirements may not be the same when you return.
    Under a Leave of Absence, students are allowed three semesters to earn no credit in which they are still an active student; if you do not return in or by the fourth semester, you are made Inactive. If you choose to return after that fourth semester has lapsed, your requirements will be those in place at the time you return, NOT at the time you left. If you are planning to separate from the College, whether temporarily or permanently, familiarize yourself with the Leave of Absence/Separation policy.

  • Use your electives wisely.
    Approximately a third of the 120 credits required for graduation are electives. How you use these electives is what customizes your degree, and will significantly affect your degree's worth in the marketplace. A second major, minor, or teacher certification comes from your electives. Study overseas, take an internship, study at another school as a visiting student, or look into other ways to maximize use of your electives.

 

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