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Annual Planning Tips: A Veteran Adviser's Recommendations

Annual Planning Policy

Annual planning in spring is required of all freshmen and sophomores, though all students are encouraged to meet with their advisers. Freshmen plan for the sophomore year and sophomores plan for the junior and senior years. Annual Planning starts about two weeks before registration for the upcoming fall classes. You should meet with all advisees except those who are graduating in the spring.

Materials you should have for annual planning:

  • Next year's schedule, available on the Registrar's web site
  • Student APAS reports, available through Portfolio plus hard copy from Advising
  • Advising Handbook and advising sheets for major/minor course requirements, also available on Advising web site

Contact your advisees (e-mail), telling them it is time to make an appointment to go over their courses for the upcoming year. There are samples of adviser letters on the Advising web site. The communications should include:

  • Tell them how to make an appointment (I use a signup sheet posted on my office door with open hours set aside for advising. I like to allow ½ hour for each advisee). Try to encourage students to come in early rather than waiting until the day of their queue time.
  • Remind students to bring a proposed schedule of courses they are considering taking. (I like to remind them that they should assume some responsibility for course selections.)
    • Freshman do a one-year plan
    • Sophomores do a two-year plan
    • Juniors (not required) review their APAS noting what needs to be completed and a credit check for graduation needs to be completed
  • Mention internship, MAIs, MAPs, UROPs, and International opportunities.

Prepare for your meeting

  • Double check which bulletin year the student wants to follow because of curricular changes.
  • Review the student's APAS report--circle or highlight GER requirements and major/minor course requirements that need to be fulfilled.
    Check the Ds that the student has earned (only 12 credits can be used toward the 120 required for graduation).
  • Do a credit check, particularly for those who plan to graduate next year.
  • Identify any questions that need to be covered during the advising session.
  • Review the GER courses that will be offered during the next year and the times they are scheduled. (This saves a lot of time when an advisee needs a GER but has a hard time deciding what to take. A TA or student worker can go through the list and check the information for you.) You can now use the Course Search on the Registrar's web site. to select courses to meet specific general education requirements or are offered during a specific time period.

Meet with your advisees

  • Inquire how the semester is going, what plans the student has for the summer, interest areas of student, extra curricular activities the student in which the student is involved (This is important information when it comes time to do letters of recommendation. Also suggestions can be made in those areas the student is weak so they can develop a stronger resume.)
  • Go over proposed schedule that the student brought along.
    • Double check the bulletin year the student is following.
    • Note courses that have pre-requisites and confirm that those pre-requisites have been taken.
    • Make sure the courses are offered--some courses are offered every other year and some are offered only once during the academic year.
    • Encourage the freshmen to complete most of their GER requirements the first two years (some courses in the major/minor will also fulfill a GER requirement).
    • Freshmen and sophomores need to take the foundation courses in their major/minor as early as possible because they are usually the pre-requisites for upper level courses.
    • Check for a balance of courses:
      • not all math, reading, or lab courses
      • not all courses scheduled for MWF or TTH
      • not all courses should follow each other without breaks
    • Identify some alternative courses that can be taken if desired courses close before student registers
  • Take notes on the advising session to refer to when you see the student again and particularly when writing letters of recommendation and letters of nomination or support for awards or scholarships.
  • Suggest to the student that he/she checks the availability of desired courses the day before the scheduled registration time so needed schedule adjustments can be made without stress.

Review Transfer Students Credit in the Major
To determine whether transfer credit is applicable to the major, faculty in the discipline should review a syllabus or other course material to make sure the material is equivalent to UMM courses. If the courses are not acceptable, students may have to take our required courses and use the transfer credits for elective work.

--Joan Reicosky