Advice from a student: graduate

Derian Silva

Staff Writer

Parkland students are in the midst of midterms right now and with the building pressure it can be difficult to think about the future. However, students should begin to consider what courses they are taking next semester and whether or not they are close to graduating.

Careful planning of your semesters at Parkland helps ensure that you graduate on time and with the correct credits for your program. Students in their first couple of semesters may not be aware of everything required of them, which is why students with less than 30 credit hours are required to meet with an advisor to plan their schedule.

During registration periods students fill up the appointment calendars of the advisors, so it is important to keep track of when registration begins, so you may plan a meeting with an advisor.

Students who are currently enrolled or continuing students may have an early registration period of Oct. 30–Nov. 5. After this period, registration is open for all students.

Signing up for your courses early and meeting with an advisor does two things for students: it ensures that they are taking the correct courses and it helps make sure they get a spot in the course. If a course that is required for graduation fills up and is not again available until next year, graduation times can be delayed.

Meeting with an advisor is also important even after earning 30 credits. At this point meeting with advisors from your major is recommended. Advisors from your major will be able to accurately guide you through your degree program, helping you decide which courses are vital to take and when.

Students also have available to them through a degree audit, which checks your courses against the catalog for the year that you entered Parkland. This service also features the ability to explore other majors, through “What if I changed my program of study?” This tool enables you to see what would happen if you changed your major and what other courses you would need to take.

Once students have been at Parkland for a while, they may start to wonder about their graduation. Students are not always aware that they must petition to graduate. According to the student services website, the steps to take before graduation are much like those for when you meet with advisors to sign up for courses. However, instead of meeting with advisors, there are two specialty faculty members, Dennis Kaczor and Beth Chepan, in the U214 admissions office, who are available for help with graduation status related questions.

Students who are planning to transfer should pay close attention to the colleges they are considering transferring to and meet with advisors from the program they are interested in, to make sure they also have the required pre-requisites. Earning an associate’s degree usually guarantees that the university will accept your general education courses, but does not guarantee admission to specific programs. If you are unsure about this procedure, mention it to your advisor and they will be able to facilitate.

Students earning certification or hoping to enter the work force should visit Parkland’s Career Center. The people there can help with securing employment, resume writing, posting resumes, job fair information and sorting through job listings.

Any student at Parkland who is earning a certificate or degree must complete a petition to graduate form and there are deadlines for these. Students who are graduating in spring 2018 have two possibilities: Those who wish to participate in the commencement ceremony must complete this petition by March 7. Those who are not participating in the commencement ceremony must have their petition in by April 10. These forms can be found online or acquired through the Admissions and Records office in room U214.

Time management is an important aspect of college and students should take care to remember to meet with their advisors before registration to make sure that they are on the right path.