April 27, 2012

Post-Registration Blues

Let me guess, registration for the fall semester didn’t quite go as planned? You used the Course Schedule Planner (or good old paper and pen) to create the ideal schedule. You were excited for the fall semester. Then, you logged into WebReg and your classes were closed! Your life plans are shot, right?
Not even a little bit!
It will all be ok. Take a deep breath or a walk, then come back and read this post. Don’t worry, Dean Frosh will wait for you……
seriously, how far did you go?...
Ok, welcome back! Dean Frosh hopes you feel a little better, and if you don’t yet, hopefully you will after reading this post.
Remember that registration is a process.  Did you know that this registration period is actually called “pre-registration”? We give students the opportunity to start working on their schedule now, but most students will continue to work on that schedule through the first week of the semester (the add/drop period). It’s rare for someone to get their ideal schedule during pre-registration.

Here are some thoughts to help you feel better about what just happened:
Be patient. Dean Frosh knows your first instinct is to run to the department or instructor to plead your case for a special permission number. Keep in mind that most departments are going to deny requests at this point. Here’s why:

1.       During pre-registration, some students will register for anything that’s open just to get to 12 credits, but have no intention of keeping all of those courses. So seats will open up.
2.       Students’ plans change over the summer and they drop classes that are no longer needed. So seats will open up.
3.       Students are taking a class in the summer but register for it in the fall to hold a spot in that class “just in case.” Those students will adjust their schedules when their summer class ends, and seats will open up.
4.       WebReg allows students to register for classes if they’re in the prerequisite now, or registered for the prereq in the summer at Rutgers. The sad reality is that some students will not pass the prerequisite and will be dropped, and seats will open up.
5.       Spaces in some courses (including Signature courses) are held for incoming students. Once those students have registered, any remaining seats will be available to all students. Don’t get mad, we did this for you, too! And it means that seats will open up.
6.       Some departments restrict courses or sections of courses to certain schools or majors. Once those students have been given ample time to register, the restrictions will be lifted, and seats will open up.
Dean Frosh has just shown you six ways that seats will open up. For these reasons, most departments wait to grant special permission numbers.

Be flexible. Dean Frosh knows there are some really popular classes here; but she also knows those classes aren’t the only games in town. If you planned to take a class that was certified for some area in the Core curriculum, consider fulfilling a different learning goal instead. You can always plan to take that original class in a different semester!
And Dean Frosh has a crazy thought: take an elective. Incoming students at SAS are given 120 credits that they must spend in order to graduate. It is a credit gift card; each student can spend those credits as they wish, but they all must be spent. Everyone spends a portion of those credits on their major, their minor, and the Core. BUT, almost everyone will still have a balance. In other words, most students NEED to spend credits on things that don’t seem to fit into any requirement area so that they can graduate.
What to do now?
1.       Don’t panic. Or if you are still feeling worried, come to speak to a reference dean at one of the Advising Centers (http://sasundergrad.rutgers.edu/academics/advising/see-an-sas-dean-general-advising).
2.       If you aren’t registered for a full-time course load of at least 12 credits, do that by the end of next week. You should create a schedule that contains classes that you would be happy taking next semester if your original selections don’t open up.
Check the Schedule of Classes daily to see if spaces open up. WebReg is open all summer, so you can make changes then, too!

April 10, 2012

When Roads Diverge...

You, like many students, may be experiencing moments of doubt about whether your college is the right “fit” for you.  These moments of confusion may be a result of different causes: social, financial, familial, emotional, academic, etc., but they all represent opportunities to clarify your reasons for being here. While most students will emerge from this time with a recommitment to Rutgers and their college education, some do not – and that’s OK!  We want all students to succeed by their own measure of success; if that means taking a break or reaching your goals elsewhere, we want to help you make that process as seamless as possible. 

First, think about why you are considering leaving. Are you moving closer to home? Pursuing other vocational/academic plans? Or just looking for a better “fit” overall?  It is important for you to consider all your reasons to ensure you’re making the best choice for you. It can be helpful to discuss your options with an academic adviser, so consider scheduling an appointment (http://sasundergrad.rutgers.edu/academics/advising/see-an-sas-dean-general-advising).  

If your decision is to take a Leave of Absence from Rutgers, you need to let us know:

Complete the Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Form on our website at sasundergrad.rutgers.edu.  Indicate whether you are taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from the university:
                        Looking to transfer to another school = Withdrawal

Looking to withdraw from Rutgers for an indefinite amount of time (i.e., “I’m not sure what I will do but for now, I need a break”) = Leave of Absence

Looking to take a leave for a specific amount of time and then return = Leave of Absence (with return date indicated)

Take that form to one of the SAS Advising offices, and a dean will check it over, answer your questions, and wish you the best of luck in your endeavors! From there, you’ll need to contact all offices that may be affected by your withdrawal (for example, if you have a meal plan, you’ll need to cancel it at Dining Services).  *The offices are listed on the form as a checklist to guide you. 

If you are taking a Leave of Absence but plan to take courses at your local community college, we can show you how to do get courses preapproved to ensure that those credits transfer back to Rutgers.

If you plan to transfer to another school within Rutgers University, follow the School-to-School Transfer process:

With over 90 majors and nearly 100 minors at the School of Arts and Sciences, we do offer a lot, but certainly not everything!  For majors offered by the following schools, you would be required to transfer:
SEBS (unless it’s a second major to an SAS major)
Mason Gross School of the Arts (you can pursue any of these majors as an SAS student for the BA degree, but must transfer to complete the BFA program)

For admissions criteria, requirements, and deadlines for the School-to-School transfer, visit: http://admissions.rutgers.edu/schooltoschool/.  If you have any questions specific to the school that you are transferring, you’ll want to contact the school.

FYI: All majors in the Schools of Social Work, Management and Labor Relations, Communication, and Public Policy, do NOT require that you switch schools. You will only need to declare the major (or apply to the major, in some cases).  For example, you can stay an SAS major and major in Journalism and Media Studies, even though it’s offered by the School of Communication and Information.

 We know that this can be confusing; it’s a great topic to clarify in an advising appointment!