Academic Advising

Don’t you love this time of year?  All your papers are due, you have to study for tests, and now you have to worry about advising and registering for next semester! This brings me to a common complaint that transfer students have: “why do we have to meet with our Advisor every semester?”

Setting up a meeting with an Advisor can be difficult depending on your schedule, but it really is designed to help students. I know it has helped me a couple of different times.

Quick Tip:  If this is on your MyMav Student Center, then it’s time to get advised.

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Last semester, I decided before seeing my Advisor I was going to total the credit hours I would need for graduation. Before seeing my Advisor I was thinking to myself, “why do I have to see the Advisor? I mean, I had counted up the hours, and I know the classes I needed, so what was the point?”

So, I go into the advising session and see her. We are talking about the classes I will need then she mentions a class I did not remember. When I looked at the degree plan she gave me, I realized I did not count an entire class! If I had not met with my Advisor, I may have gone to apply for graduation and not have a class I needed. My Advisor saved me that day, and it made me realize why we NEED to meet with our Advisor!

While this was an awesome experience that helped me out greatly, it is just one of many experiences that I have had with my advisors! They have recommended me for master level classes, answered my questions about credits, scholarships, and internships. Advisors are really there to help us through our college experience, and they have helped me on numerous occasions!

So, be sure you see your Advisor this semester and every semester while you attend UTA!

GetAdvised

Don’t know where to find your Advisor? The Maverick Resource Hotline provides contact information for all advising offices online, or you can call 817-272-6107 or send an email resources@uta.edu.

ALSO, Check out #UTAAdvised on Twitter to learn more about advising hours, special topics classes and more at UT Arlington and share your advising experience, too.

Online Communication Etiquette

As an online student, I communicate with professors via email 90% of the time. The other 10% is through discussion boards and webinars for class. Communication for online courses is a bit different from face-to-face courses, but email is still what students and professors are using to communicate most of the time. I have seen a statement about communication etiquette in just about every syllabus this semester. But what is communication etiquette? And why do we need to use it when interacting with professors?

A students works on a computer in the Central Library.
Courtesy of UTA.edu

Professors are professionals, and could be potential employers. Professors could be the door to your big career break. Maintaining a professional attitude as a student will let your professor know that you intend to be a professional in the work world.

Look at the following statements and decide for yourself which one is easier to understand, sounds most professional, and looks best:

“Was absent Tuesday. Missed test. Free to retake it on Friday. Thx.”

“Hello Professor. Due to a car accident, I was unable to make it to CRCJ 4333 – section 002 on Tuesday at 8am. I understand that I missed a test and that you have retake policies. As stated in the syllabus, I am allowed one retake before the week ends. I am available Friday after my 1pm class. Please let me know a time that we can meet to further discuss this issue. Best, Student name.”

Although the 2nd one seems a little longer, it shows that you CARE and have respect for the professor.

Student uses a laptop near the University Center.

Some general rules for communicating with your professor…

  1. Never use slang or text language. Sure you may be sending that email from your phone, but using “u” instead of “you” is unacceptable. I actually had a professor use “u” in an email to me. It made me think a little less of their professionalism. I will discuss this incident more in a later blog post! Stay tuned!
  1. Always say the course number, section number, and time of the class in the email. Some professors prefer that you put the course number and section number in the subject of the email. I’ve noticed that this usually results in a quicker reply. Remember that professors have hundreds of students and sometimes teach up to 7 courses.
  1. Include your student ID number. There are probably several students named “Taylor Smith” in the student directory. Even if you think you have a unique name, the student directory still has some alumni from years ago. If the professor can locate you with your student ID, it makes it more efficient for them to help you with your issue, especially if it is concerning a grade.
  1. If it takes you more than 2 paragraphs to discuss your issue in email, make an appointment. Most professors are more than happy to help you with anything during office hours. If the issue takes a while to explain, it is probably best said, and taken care of, in person.
  1. NEVER send any emails on the following subjects:
  •       “Can I have extra credit?” (Unless the syllabus says you can email for extra credit.)
  •       “Can I turn in an assignment late?” (Unless you have a LEGIT, REAL reason to do so.)
  •       “What did I miss in class today?”
  •       “What is due this week?” (It’s on the syllabus.)
  •       “When is the test?” (It’s on the syllabus.)

I hope that some of these tips help you!

 

 

 

 

 

Maverick Speakers Series

One of the coolest experiences I have had at the University of Texas at Arlington happened about a month ago. A national celebrity and politician stopped by UTA as part of UTA’s Maverick Speaker Series. Some of the speakers in this series include James Franco (I know, right!), Neil deGrasse Tyson (Yup!!), Bill Nye (the freakin Science guy), and Seth Meyers (REALLY!?!?!?).

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But on this date former Congressman Dr. Ron Paul was on campus speaking. Ron Paul is the father of Senator Rand Paul, a popular libertarian/republican politician, writer, and former presidential candidate.

Now I am not the biggest fan of Dr. Ron Paul (I agree with some of the things he says and disagree with other things…like any other politician.) However, the political nerd in me had to go see him. I mean he was a presidential candidate and represented Texas in the US House of Representatives for more than 20 years. There was no way I was going to miss this event.

ron-paul-poster

I stayed late on campus (my last class was at three and the talk didn’t start until seven). My excitement for the event grew exponentially when I saw him walking around campus. I mean I was close enough to touch a former presidential candidate!!! I didn’t of course… that would be weird. When it came time for the event I got there a little early and sat near the back and engaged in conversation with an older lady who sat next to me. Then it started. State representative Tony Tinderholt gave the introduction and Dr. Ron Paul stepped out.

Dr. Ron Paul is an older man, in his eighties, skinny, but sharp as a tack. His thoughts are original and not something you will hear from other Washington politicians (I mean you will not hear many politicians argue for the gold standard or isolationism). Again I do not agree with everything he says, but I do respect a man who has stood by his beliefs for so many years.

It was a good talk and after I can understand why he has been so popular for so many years (this was my first time hearing him speak). At the end of the night there was an opportunity to get his autograph, but I was too slow in reacting and the line got too long. You can click here for a quick recap of Dr. Paul’s talk.

Nevertheless, it was one of the coolest things I have done since I transferred here. The last speaker event for the academic year happens tonight. The featured speaker is Jane Goodall. Yes, that lady you have learned about since the eighth grade will be here tonight! Unfortunately, the event is sold out. But make sure to get the list of speakers when the semester starts in the Fall! I am sure you will find a speaker that will not only be interesting to you, but will be an amazing experience.

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If you were lucky enough to snag tickets to the Jane Goodall talk, I’d love to learn about your experience. Leave a comment & join the conversation.

Pros and Cons of Online Classes

So, you’re considering online classes… but you’re still unsure about it. I became a strictly online student this semester, but I’ve been taking online classes for about 2 years now. I will share with you some of the pros and cons of taking online classes.

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Photo courtesy of UTA.edu

Let’s start with the pros.

  1. Flexible schedule. You can do school whenever you want, wherever you want! Some professors require online meetings, or will set time frames for when work is due, but you can generally create your own schedule.
  1. Work at your own pace… sometimes. Some professors give you all of the work up front and allow you to finish ahead of time. Some professors only release assignments a few weeks before they are due. It depends on who you have as a professor, but I really appreciate the ones that allow working ahead!
  1. If you enjoy reading, you’ll love online classes. Most are very reading intensive since the lecture component is cut out of online class. I enjoy this, but it isn’t for everyone.
  1. It’s easier to work. If you have a part time job, you will no longer have to worry about planning your hours around class time. You can now plan school around work, which is really great! It may even allow you to work a few extra hours.
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Photo courtesy of UTA.edu

Sounds great, right? Here are some cons.

  1. You may forget to do classwork. A friend of mine was taking online classes and totally forgot about one of his classes, causing him to fail it. The key to preventing this is making a to do list. The fact that you aren’t in a face-to-face class everyday makes it easy to forget what you actually need to do for class. I keep a journal that is strictly for class to-dos.
  1. The Internet sometimes sucks. ALL classes require an Internet connection. As I’m sure you know, the Internet is more unpredictable than the Texas weather. I’ve been in the middle of a test before and had the Internet cut out. I had to retake the test, which wasn’t fun.
  1. It’s harder to meet potential coworkers and colleagues. Many of the people I met in my in-person classes are people I know I will see in the field throughout my career. Although professors try to replicate this through online discussion boards, web meetings, and email, it’s impossible to completely simulate the face-to-face meetings. This only means that networking is going to be harder, which doesn’t hurt every career, but may be crucial to some.
  1. You may actually have more work. One of my classes requires weekly discussion board postings. These really add to my workload. But some of my classes only require 3 tests for the entire semester. Again, it depends on what kind of professor you have. It’s kind of luck and chance taking an online course.

The best way to decide if online classes are for you is to make a list of the pros and cons you think that you would encounter. I started by only taking one online class per semester. That way, if I decided it wasn’t for me, I didn’t have to take another online class the next semester.

Good luck!