Students should be mindful of scheduling matters


Many would agree that, aside from being challenging, beneficial, and intellectually stimulating, the college experience is supposed to be fun.  But all good things must come to an end, as they say, and even though various personal circumstances can cause a student’s time at a university to last longer than expected, missing out on graduation because of conditions that are out of one’s control can be more than frustrating.
After years of scheduling, studying, befriending, waiting, dropping, writing, reading, and doing whatever else, graduation is the light at the end of a long academic tunnel.  It represents not just a culmination of four or more years of efforts, but also a passage into a new lifestyle.  The possibilities that crop up with college graduation are exciting and endless, assuming a student is not stopped short when the end is so near.
Imagine the situation.  A student approaches the office of his advisor.  He’s anxious about finally planning the end of a long collegiate expedition.  He has survived those dreaded foreign language classes, and he’s finally passed freshman English on the fourth attempt.  When he arrives, his advisor seems just as excited, ready to help yet another student cross the finish line.  But there is a problem, something unforeseen that in a horrible instant becomes the student’s academic nightmare.  Maybe something doesn’t add up:  he’s missing a class that his advisor assured him was not necessary, or two of his remaining three necessary courses are offered during the same time.  Assuming time travel is out of the question, our student is screwed, cursed to spend one more slow, embarrassing semester at school while his friends and associates of the last four years run off to join the real world.
Perhaps the scene is a bit overdramatic, but it can actually be reality for a surprising amount of unlucky prospective graduates.  Even the most competent advisors are human; they make mistakes, policies change, and course selections are not always set in stone.  The process of scheduling can end up being more of a gamble than it should be, and, unfortunately, there are no sure-fire ways of preventing possible snags.
These problems may have Nicholls-specific details as well.  Considering recent and ongoing issues with budget cuts, the University cannot be offering as many classes at as many time slots as it was years ago.  Many classes may be limited to being offered only once a year, or perhaps even less.  Also, planned classes may never come to fruition because of staff deficits or lack of student interest.  
Students should always keep in mind what courses are required in the catalog that was given to them in their university prep classes.  Using that list, students can highlight and make note of what  classes have been and need to be taken.  If students are always aware of which classes are required of them, then when scheduling time rolls around, there is a better chance for the student or the  advisor to catch an error that would have been detrimental to a student’s graduation date.
Never assume.  If ever a student has a question about courses which should be taken, it is always best to consult with a faculty member to be sure that credit will be given for the time spent in the classroom.
Though scheduling can already be difficult aside from these unpredictable issues, the only way to combat problems with graduation is to remain aware.  Taking every academic opportunity as it comes along is a good idea, and it may save money, time, and patience in the long run.  By all means, advisors should be as professional as possible and do the very best to ensure their students’ success, but students should also remain vigilant with their own goals and matters of business.