Why many students feel unprepared for the semester change
By Katelyn OsterPosted Jan 4, 2012
This is the last winter quarter that OSU will see, spanning from Jan. 3 to March 15. Is it too early to start thinking about the upcoming quarter-to-semester conversion?
Of course not, but for many OSU students this change is one fraught with uncertainty. While some students feel like there’s a lack of communication from the university about the change, others feel informed but still question whether some unseen and unthought of consequence will befall them.
For student Leah Wirgau, the change is a challenge because she’s getting a dual degree. Half of her first degree will be split between quarters and semesters, and the second degree will be all semesters.
“I know the university has made this promise that we won’t get screwed over, but I’m someone who wants to know exactly what’s going to happen,” she said.
The countdown on OSU’s Office of Academic Affairs website shows there are merely six short months before students will see the change; the semester system will officially take effect on June 18, 2012.
The change might cause some students to stay at OSU longer as classes needed for graduation might not be offered during the summer semester for certain programs.
Another possible effect from the change could require students to essentially retake previously completed classes. This would occur if a class that was offered during a previous quarter gets transitioned into a newly designed course that’s required for a major.
Student Kyle Skinner said he feels like the university is doing a good job updating students, but the change is still causing him uncertainty.
“It will be during my senior year, so it’s kind of frustrating,” he said. “A lot of people are still confused about the credit conversion from quarters to semesters.”
Some students are keeping a close eye on the University-provided emails that are meant to guide students through the changes as they come.
“I’ve simply been reading the emails that are sent out by the university detailing how things will be transitioned,” said Colin Lima, OSU senior and French major. “They’re very informative.”
Other students aren’t keeping themselves as informed.
“I’ve just kind of ignored the emails the administration has sent about the semester switch,” said Ian Brandeberry. “I expect to be screwed over a few times by a few classes, as well as the shorter summer.”
Some students are using their advisors to prepare for the switch.
“This year I’ve been trying to get all my GECs out of the way so next year I won’t have to worry about graduating on time,” said Jackie Lanzillotta, third-year nursing student. “Luckily, the nursing program schedules all my nursing classes so they’re combining some courses to ensure we finish our rotations in two semesters.”
Jay Roever, fifth year political science major, will be graduating during the first semester.
“I’ve spoken a lot with my advisors and kept an eye on how my credits will convert,” he said.
So what can students do to prepare for this enormous transition for the university?
First and foremost, students can consult the semester-conversion guide at oaa.osu.edu/semester-conversion-students.html.
On the website are many frequently asked questions, contact information in case of questions and handy tips to consider.
The primary thing the website suggests is for students to meet with their academic advisors. Once departments officially decide their courses for Summer Semester 2012, specific major advisors can assist students in planning accordingly.
There is also a guide on the OAA website called the “Quarter-to-Semester Course Conversion Guide” where students can map out what they should be taking for semesters to come.
“The most important thing we ask is that students meet with their advisors,” said Mary Ellen Jenkins, assistant executive dean for advising and academic services in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Make an appointment as soon as possible with both your major/departmental advisor and your advisor in the college office.”
Another handy tip: Print off your degree audit and review it before the appointment. It will make things easier on you and your academic advisor. Normally, departments submit their projected course offerings for the rest of the year by mid-Winter quarter. This allots enough time for the Registrar to figure out where and when classes will be held before appointment times open up in April.
“Students who heed this advice will be in the best position academically to complete their degrees in a timely way,” Jenkins said.
Worried about fitting an appointment into your schedule? Don’t fret. Advisors will be working longer hours to ensure that every student is prepared. It’s also likely the university will hire some temporary part-time employees to keep up with student demand for appointments.
UWeekly writer Ashley Fournier contributed to this story.