Once Grades Post…

Final grades are set to be official today, May 14. There are many things that are attached to your official grades like academic standing, financial aid status, probation status and, if you’re in the University College, transitioning into a major.

First thing’s first, check your grades. Make sure they are the correct grades…accidents happen. If you notice any discrepancies contact your professor for assistance immediately.

If you are on probation, then you will want to look at several things. You should verify your semester GPA and your cumulative GPA. Review information about Academic Standing online and check out the FAQs, too. Did you meet requirements for continuance? Is dismissal a real possibility? If you have questions, meet with your advisor for information.

Other things to consider:

  • Are you on track for your major?
  • Did you meet the transition criteria (GPA, math progress, credit hours)?
  • Did you complete the necessary prerequisites for future courses?
  • Have you been advised for the upcoming semester?

If you have over 30 credits and a 2.5 GPA, then chances are that you’re able to transition to your major. You will receive an email with contact information for the advisor in your intended area of study. Check your UTA email, and set up an appointment with your new advisor, if applicable.

If you’re still working on a decision for a major, then plan on attending a Major Exploration Seminar during the spring or adding the Major Exploration class in the spring. Contact exploringmajors@uta.edu for more information.

Census and You

Today is Census. Hooray! You’re officially a UTA student for the Spring semester, but it’s important for other reasons, too.

The term Census date refers to the point at which your enrollment is locked for financial aid purposes, and it happens to coincide with the last date you can add or drop classes without a W on your transcript.

Did you know that adds are not permitted after Census?

After late registration through the last date to drop, students must meet with an undergraduate academic advisor to drop a class or fully withdraw from classes. Students should contact the academic advising area of their major department for specific procedures and forms needed for withdrawing or dropping after the Census date. In some cases, the signature of the faculty teaching the course(s) will be required. The student’s academic advisor will process the drop or withdrawal transaction.

From the first official day of class through the last day to drop (March 28), the student cannot drop his or her last class. This must be done by the student’s undergraduate major advisor.

What does Census mean for you? Find out more information on the UTA website.

Starting Undeclared

Collegeview.com says “it’s okay to begin your first and even second year of college without choosing a major.” Many advisors at UT Arlington would agree. Sometimes it is best to ease into college and spend some time learning about what is available instead of jumping, head first, into a degree you know little about. There are many resources available to students that are exploring their options.

  1. The University Advising Center offers free Major Exploration Seminars throughout the year, a Major Exploration class (UNIV 1131) and hosts the Maverick Major Fair during the fall and spring semesters.
  2. The Career Development Center offers free resume critiques, workshops and a Career Fair during the fall and spring semesters.
  3. Counseling and Psychological Services offers advanced career assessments and one-on-one counseling to help with the decision-making process.

In addition to all of the resources, there are several approaches that an undeclared students can take to help narrow down degree options. Students can take core classes that are required by all majors to start considering areas of interest. Most degrees do require an elective of some sort, so there is some wiggle room when it comes to “trying out” a major. It can be very helpful to set up an Informational Interview with a community member, department advisor or faculty advisor. Join a student organization to learn more about areas of interest from a peer perspective.

Bottom Line: It is important to start asking questions as soon as you can and know that choosing a major is only a part of your college experience.

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” - Bill Cosby

Exploring Your University

Over the years, I have noticed, as do many academic advisors, that students come to campus eager to find out where their dorm room is or what building houses their classes, but many students do not take advantage of the resource opportunities that the University offers. In fact, some students will never know where the Digital Media Studio is located, or that the Student Money Management Center offers free financial advising.

The University is truly a city within a city. Restaurants, shopping, Counseling Services, tutoring and Health Services are just the tip of the iceberg. Each building on campus houses departments and offices that cater to the needs of the campus community. During your first few weeks on campus, I highly recommend that you take some time to look at the campus map, take a ride on the shuttle and have lunch near the water fountain between the Fine Arts Building and Architecture Courtyard. Explore the campus and take note of the places and people that are here to enhance your college experience.

If you’re looking for an easy way to learn about a variety of resources, then attending the August 28th Activity Fair Day is a must. Stop by the University Advising Center and Major Exploration tables to sign up for some great door prizes while you’re there.

As far as resources go, make sure that you bookmark the Maverick Resource Hotline website and save the phone number for future reference: 817-272-6107.

Using Wordle for Exploring

Recently, I was introduced to the online program Wordle. Wordle generates “word clouds” from text that you provide. The “word clouds” give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery.

After taking some time to consider what text to add, I realized that this could be used to help students explore majors. I added the text from my previous blog “Summer Exploring” and the Wordle below does a great job of providing a unique, visual representation of my words.

Click on the image to view a larger version.

Wordle: Summer Exploring

My assignment for you is simple. Write a short essay about yourself: your likes, dislikes, and significant experiences that have helped shape the person that you are. Then, submit the text to Wordle and create your own “word cloud.” You may see some strengths that you might not have noticed before.

I’d love to see what you come up with, so please share your Wordles in the comments section below.

And, as always, if you want to talk to an advisor about exploring majors, please feel free to email us at exploringmajors@uta.edu.

Summer Exploring

Summer is not only an opportunity to work on your tan or earn extra cash, but it is also an opportunity to explore your major options without the stresses of a full load of classes. You may not know this, but Academic Advisors work year round at UTA to provide information to students about degree requirements, class registration and department opportunities like internships.

This is also a great time to start discussing graduate school options. The Office of Graduate Studies provides walk-in sessions for prospective students thoughout the year. It’s never too early to think about the future, and according to the Mav Grad Blog, the Ph.D is making a comeback, especially in science and business.

The important thing to note is that you have resources available as a UTA student. Career Consultants, Academic Advisors, Counselors, Peer Mentors, Faculty and Student Organizations are here to help you make the best of your time at UTA. Remember that your college experience is not all about the books and lectures; it also includes the people that you meet, the connections that you make and what you do when you’re not in the classroom. Utilize your time during the summer to make plans for your future and get answers to the questions that you have about your education.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~Mark Twain

Exploring Majors Online

Every college and university offers a wide range of subjects for majors, minors, certifications, etc. When faced with so much information, it’s easy to see why so many students start as undeclared or change majors 2-3 times before graduation. A key to successfully choosing a major is to not let “the decision” sit on the back burner for too long. Sure, it’s tempting to busy yourself with student organizations, study groups or part-time jobs to brush off the inevitable, but it’s important to be proactive. Your counselors and advisors understand that your major exploration process depends on the type of person that you are. Not everyone is comfortable meeting with a bunch of advisors in-person, making phone calls or setting up informational interviews. Luckily, learning about majors is only a click away, and the UT Arlington website offers at least four routes to learn more about majors offered:

Personally, I like the UTA Catalog. I often recommend looking at the course descriptions for advanced 3000-4000 level classes in areas of interest. This can give you an idea of what will be expected of you in the future. If you look over the upper level classes and nothing jumps out at you, then it could be a giant red flag.  Look for areas of study that will challenge you in a constructive way, but also offer opportunities to enrich your college experience.  Be true to your personality, interests, skills and values and you will find a major that works for you.  

Maybe you already know what kind of career you want in the future, but are finding it difficult to narrow down an academic path. The following links give some great information about the type of education that is required for a variety of jobs and career paths.

Regardless, of where you are on your major exploration journey, the University Advising Center is here to help with several major exploration options:

If you have any questions, feel free to email an advisor at exploringmajors@uta.edu.

Understanding Probation and GPA Issues

Does this sound familiar?

All of the mid-terms are over, the last day to drop has passed, finals are days away and you haven’t said a word to your professors and you have no idea if you’re going to pass your classes.

Scary, huh?

Fear is natural. We fear what we do not understand…what is unknown to us. With that said, if you have acted like the student in the scenario above, then most advisors are going to assume that you haven’t read the UTA catalog and probably know little to nothing about academic standing and regulations. This doesn’t make you a bad student. I repeat, this does not make you a bad student. However, it does make you less informed about the academic regulations that could determine your immediate future and possibly affect your livelihood. Not knowing the consequences can be much scarier than not knowing your grades.

It is very true that knowledge is power. When you’re in danger of failing it’s best to learn about the consequences and prepare for the outcome. Lessen the fear and anxiety for yourself.

Probation can happen to anyone for a multitude of reasons. Life happens, but anyone below a 2.0 cumulative GPA is placed on academic probation. What is important to understand is that if handled appropriately, a GPA can be repaired and progress can be made. Here are the basics to GPA repair.

First, you have to know how to calculate your GPA (Grade Point Average). If you know how to divide, then you’ll be a master of GPA calculation. It’s simple: Total Grade Points/Total Credit Hours=GPA. Each credit hour is worth up to 4 grade points (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1 and F=0).

Example: If you have an A in SPAN 1441 and C in MATH 1302, then you have 16 grade points for SPAN 1441 and 6 points for MATH 1302 for a total of 22 Grade Points and 7 Credit hours. 22 Grade Points/7 Credit Hours = 3.142 GPA

Next, you have to figure out your GPD (Grade Point Deficiency). Please note that this only applies to students on probation (less than a 2.0 GPA) because the formula relates to how many points you need to make at least a 2.0 GPA to be removed from probation. If you can multiply and subtract, then you’ll be a master of GPD calculation. The Formula: (2.0 x Total Credit Hours) – Total Grade Points = GPD.

Example: If you have an D in SPAN 1441 and C in MATH 1302, then you have 4 grade points for SPAN 1441 and 6 points for MATH 1302 for a total of 10 Grade Points and 7 Credit hours. The GPA will fall below 2.0: 10 Grade Points/7 Credit Hours = 1.428 GPA. Apply the formula: (2.0 x 7) – 10= -4 GPD

It does take more effort to remove GPD points (A=6, B=3, C=0, D=-3, F=-6). The example above shows a GPD of -4, so it would take at least 1A or 2 Bs to remove the GPD points.

Still confused? It can be tricky if you have a lot of credit hours. Click here for a GPA/GPD Calculation Worksheet

The University also has a Grade Exclusion policy in place to help you recover from a low GPA. Grade Exclusion: Remove up to 3 grades (D or F) from your GPA. There are exceptions and regulations for grade exclusion, so discuss the option with an advisor before making assumptions.

So, now you know the basics. If you have questions, remember that your advisor is a Master of GPA Repair and can help you set up a plan of attack to wipe out a low GPA and conquer your academic goals.

University Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies?

Have you heard about  University Studies? It’s one of the newest degree options offered at UT Arlington, and there has been a lot of confusion about what a University Studies is exactly. University Studies is housed in the University College in Ransom Hall and offers a Bachelor of Science degree option. The degree plan is not a traditional degree plan, but it does has some similarities to the Interdisciplinary Studies degrees offered at UTA.

The main similarities include:

  • Both allow students to develop individualized degree plans.
  • Both allow flexibility in course selection to meet degree requirements.
  • Both provide a degree option for students not well-served by a traditional major for whatever reason.
  • Both allow students to make use of transfer hours and hours already earned at UT Arlington.
  • Both require students to complete an application.

Sounds simply enough, right? Well, there are some key distinctions between the two departments and the experience that the programs offer to students. Distinctions include program entrance requirements, GPA requirements, degree focus and use of credit among others. Please refer to the Distinctions between INTS and University Studies guide for specifics.

Do you think you might be a good candidate for University Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies?

  • A typical University Studies candidate would have over 60 credit hours, a variety of credit (both UTA and transfer),  at least a 2.0 GPA, and is ready to graduate. They would choose three areas of content from the approved list: Arts, Business, Community Studies, Engineering, Health and Wellness, Humanities, Media, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.
  • The ideal Interdisciplinary Studies student is usually a sophomore/junior with an ideal job or career in mind that is not offered as a traditional major at UTA. These students can opt of a BA or BS in Interdisciplinary Studies degree and combine 2-4 areas of study to gain certain knowledge and skills. Students would work with their advisor to develop content areas that are relevant to their goals, take 3 Interdisciplinary core classes and have an opportunity for internship or service learning experience.

Both degrees offer flexibility and independence, but for some students the big question is “What kind of job can I get with this degree?”  Since both degrees require students to choose their own academic adventure, the answer can only be found in the content areas that are selected and the research performed by the student while pursuing the degree. University Studies offers a broad-based education that can prepare you for a variety of career paths, and a Interdisciplinary Studies degree can be as specific as you want to make it. The key element is you, the student.

With that said, do either of these degree options seem interesting to you? If your answer is yes, follow the links below for more information.

To find out more about University Studies, click here.

To find out more about Interdisciplinary Studies, click here.

The Big 45: How to Make Your Move

In case you haven’t heard, the Texas Legislature has passed a House Bill requiring students to declare a major by 45 credit hours. House Bill 3025 is currently in effect. If you are one of the hundreds of students on the 45 hour list, then there may be a letter of notification sitting in your UTA email inbox right now. Don’t Panic. Being Undeclared is not as scary as it may seem. In fact, as an Undeclared Student, you have an abundance of campus offices just waiting to get their hands on you…to help you. You can opt for one of several Major Exploration methods, visit the Career Center, talk to a Counselor or  sign up with Student Support Services amongst many other options.

Here are some things to think about when choosing a major:

  • The Princeton Review suggests that you “Forget High School” because subjects and teaching methods are different in College.
  • Would you prefer to pursue a major that has a specific career path like Nursing or Engineering or would you prefer to spend your college years learning about a subject that you’re passionate about like Sociology, Criminal Justice or Theatre?
  • Think of all the “core classes” that you have completed so far and what classes you enjoyed or are looking forward to taking.
  • Meeting with an Advisor can help the decision- making process, too. Especially, if you are the type of person that needs to “talk things out.”

Remember that making decisions about your life can be difficult, but not impossible. Whether you think so or not, you have plenty of people at UT Arlington supporting your efforts and ready to give you a helping hand, if you need it. Never forget that the sweetest victories are hard fought, so make your move!

Major Exploration Seminars are offered throughout the semester. Sign up online.