New degree maps to help students “finish in four”

Erin Mann, Staff

Most universities aim to help students graduate in four years, but students may not know how to stay on track to finish their degree in time. Starting this fall, degree maps are being offered to help students accomplish that goal.

The degree maps are part of the new Indiana House Enrolled Act 1348-2013, which states that colleges must offer them. These maps outline what classes to take each semester to graduate in four years depending on the students.

Rebecca Turner, associate director of academic advising, said that it benefits students by laying out the optimal order to take classes. She said it also benefits students by showing the critical courses you need to take to advance to the upper-level classes. The degree maps are essentially the same between schools but different for each student.

“What you choose to put in your planner is your customized degree map,” Turner said.  “If you come in as a freshman, you can look at this and graduate in four years.”

The degree maps are different from the academic advising reports that are already offered through the university.

“The academic advising reports show what [classes] you need, but not the order you should take them,” Turner said.

She said that the degree maps are easier to view because they are not as lengthy as the academic advising reports.

Turner said that there are many ways students can learn more about the degree maps. She said that students can go into Onestart and log in to look at their personalized degree map.

“Soon there will be podcasts available for students to view to learn more about them,” Turner said.

Turner also recommends taking the pathways (COAS-S 154) class. In this class students learn more about academic planning and how to use the degree maps.

Turner said that although incoming freshmen will benefit the most from the degree maps, she recommends that everyone try them out. She also said they can help advisors better advise students.

“If there is a class not available during the semester you are supposed to take it, the advisor will find a way to fit it in another semester so you can still graduate in four years. If the change causes you take longer to graduate, the course will be no cost to you,” said Turner.

Some students have already checked out the new degree maps and have found them to be helpful.

“I think it is very convenient and helpful,” Jacob Franklin, secondary education sophomore, said.

Erin Legg, communications junior, said she believes she would have benefited from it when she needed help picking out classes.

“I would have found them really helpful as a freshman,” she said. “It would save me an extra trip trying to find time to see an advisor.

Turner said that students should feel more comfortable with their academic plans and that if they are, this increases the likelihood that they will stay in school.

To learn more about degree maps, speak with an advisor or log in to Onestart to view the personalized map.