Aug 10, 2020

Mandatory advising enters third year

With mid-terms soon approaching, now may be the perfect time to meet with an adviser.

Many students may not know that it is now mandatory to declare a major before completing 60 units, and to meet with an advisor at least once before completing 75 units.

Fresno State’s Office of Advising Services is working to prevent students from having to attend another semester at Fresno State simply because they did not realize they did not meet all requirements for graduation.

Dean Christensen, academic counselor from the Office of Advising Services, said that students often never even see an advisor. They believe they can handle class registration on their own, and find out about graduation requirements from friends, he said.
“It’s a real risk to attempt to do this on your own,” Christensen said. “Friends may not be in the same catalog year as you, and therefore will have different graduation requirements.”

This is why mandatory advising was implemented in the fall of 2005. Students must meet with an adviser and review a degree road map.

If they have no declared a major, they must do so before becoming a junior.

If students do not declare a major or meet with an adviser at least once before the designated times, then a hold will be placed, barring them from registering for classes.

Christensen said since implementation of mandatory advising in 2005, over 7,000 students have met with an adviser at least once and the number of undeclared students has declined dramatically.

“The goal is to get students to be aware of what they need to be doing,” Christensen said, “I mean, some students don’t even realize a degree road map is different from a DARS report.”

The degree road map is a guide to help students know what classes they should be taking, when they are offered and any other requirements needed to earn their degree. It is specifically designed based on their major, and will vary depending on department and catalog year.

The Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS), report acts as a place marker showing where students are at in completing their degree. It can only be viewed after one semester of course work has been completed.

It will show what classes the student took, the grades received and what requirements have been met so far.

The DARS reports are always updated after new semesters are completed, and are now available to students online at the My Fresno State portal.

Christensen believes the degree road map is vital for students. He said they should repeatedly review it and make sure they are on track.

“Advising is crucial to success as a student,” Christensen said. “I personally encourage students to meet with an adviser more than just once. I would meet with them every semester.”

Christensen recommends that students first declare a major, and then seek out their major’s department office and learn who their adviser is. They can then schedule an appointment and review the degree road map. From then on, it’s just a matter of making sure students stay on track, which is accomplished by more advising sessions, Christensen said.

“Once a student reviews their degree road map, that should not be the only and last time we see the student,” Christensen said. “The following semester, they should be right back in our office with their DARS report to verify they met the requirements and now must plan their schedule for next semester.”

Christensen wants students to realize they are not alone out there. He wants students to understand how important it is to fully understand everything needed for their degree.

“Be adamant and motivated,” Christensen said, “get to know your advisor and realize we are here to help you.”

The Office of Advising Services is located on the second floor of Joyal Administration, room 224. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christensen encourages any students who might have questions to drop by.

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