Keep calm and graduate on time

Illustration+By+Jae+Kitinoja%2F+Contributor
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Keep calm and graduate on time

Illustration By Jae Kitinoja/ Contributor

Illustration By Jae Kitinoja/ Contributor

Illustration By Jae Kitinoja/ Contributor

Illustration By Jae Kitinoja/ Contributor

Crystal Lambert

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Illustration By Jae Kitinoja/ Contributor

Illustration By Jae Kitinoja/ Contributor

Like many college students, my four-year plan has not quite been four years. However, graduating only a semester late, I’m still one of the lucky ones. The six-year plan is the new four-year plan. So if you want to graduate “on time” here are some ideas to look into.

A common problem is students either have no idea what they want to major in or end up changing their minds.

“My first two years I took a lot of classes that pertained to biology,” said Kat Kolenkina, a 23-year-old CSUN graduate with a BS in Public Health Promotion “I wasn’t I able to explained my horizons. I went all in to taking bio and it turned out it wasn’t exactly what I wanted.”

Kolenkina enrolled in CSUN with the end career goal as a doctor.

“I was a bio major for the first two and a half years at CSUN and I ended up changing my mind because I realized it wasn’t for me so I switched to public heath – I lost a semester in the transition,” said Kolenkina.

If you have a general idea of the path you would like to pursue, hone in on those. Pursue a diverse schedule of entry-level classes that also fulfill GE requirements. This way you can dip your toes into several majors and still work towards a degree, even if you are not sure what that is yet.

“Stay undeclared – everyone I’ve met who has entered college with one major has left with a completely different one.  So stay undeclared until you’re completely 100% positive,” advises Kolenkina. “Actually take that weird astronomy class because you never know if that’s what you’ll want to do.”

Kolenkina now attends CSUN as a grad student getting her English teaching credentials. “I took a creative writing class and a British literate class because I thought I needed them for med school, but after changing majors I didn’t need them,” she said. “But now that I’m in grad school for English I’m really glad I took them.”

The second problem is classes filling up before your registration date. There really isn’t an easy solution to this but there are ways to bump your date up to ensure you receive the classes needed. The best way is to join an organization on campus that gives you priory registration.  The most obvious is sports – so if you weren’t scouted to be on the team it doesn’t hurt to approach the coaches and ask for a tryout. Another option is joining the honors program, however, you need at least a 3.5 to be a member. But don’t be afraid to ask your counselor if he or she knows a program that you can fit into.

Make sure you comminicate with counselors every semester. They want you to graduate just as much as you want to and it is very important to ask them for advice. If you communicate well with them they can direct you to resources to help you graduate.

“Be engaged and involve yourself with your advisors, “said Edgar Alvarez, a 24 years old junior majoring in anthropology.

Alvarez spent about four years in community colleges and transferred to CSUN with just over 60 units. However, he’s determined to graduate before next fall.

“I’ve spoken with advisers to make sure I have it planned out,” said Alvarez, “I should be done by summer.”

The Degree Progress Report (DPR), it’s accessible through your portal and is incredibly helpful. It shows what requirements you have or have not completed and how many units you have remaining. It might be a bit confusing to read at first but feel free to print it off and take it to your counselor to help you go over it.

Lastly, dedicate yourself. Go to your classes, do all of the homework, and study for every test. Failing a class will put you further behind than almost anything else – especially if it a prerequisite.

“One problem students have is overloading themselves, having to drop courses, drop out, or getting poor grades,” said Dr. Dorothy Clark, an English Professor. “if a student is taking five classes and working and one or two of those classes either requires a load of work or has curriculum especially difficult for the particular student, then plan accordingly, arrange classes to accommodate for such instances.”

You didn’t work this hard getting into college to not graduate.