Meeting with your advisor can ensure timely graduation

Capstone courses may seem like a nuisance to many college seniors, but the reality is that they are designed to help students transition from college to the workforce. Its ultimate purpose is to give students practical experience and important skills that they can transfer over to their careers.

Capstone can be considered the final stepping stone; the pinnacle of a program of study,  and with it are many stepping stones that come before it.

Throughout the four years of college, those stepping stones are known as prerequisites — classes where students are required to meet to demonstrate readiness for enrollment in a course or program — and corequisites — a course that a student is required to take simultaneously in order to enroll in another course.

Prerequisites provide a common academic foundation for the course or program, and when a course has a prerequisite, the content assumes a specific skill level or knowledge base.

This allows for course continuity, but only if you pass. If a student hasn’t completed the prerequisite or doesn’t meet the prerequisite requirement, they can’t enroll in the next course.

This can be a big blow to those students trying to finish in four years, and due to the nature of prerequisites being required to move on to the next course, this leaves little room to move forward in their major.

Additionally, this leaves little room for flexibility in terms of taking whichever class you choose whenever you want. Of course, there are ways to knock out prerequisite courses before going to college.

By passing AP courses or being a dual enrollment student, high school students can begin their college career early on, thus putting them ahead of the game in moving forward with their  major when they finally do enter college.

In the case of the FIU freshman starting from scratch, however, things can move a little slowly.

A good first look at prerequisites when first entering FIU is the University Core Curriculum. Any student entering the University as a first-time college student (Summer 2003 or after) or transferring in without an Associates in Arts degree from a Florida public institution (Fall 2003 or after) is required to fulfill the UCC requirements.

FIU’s UCC requires courses in six fundamental areas of knowledge and FIU’s First-Year Experience course. Some requirements are sequential; others have prerequisites. There are also courses that fall under the Gordon Rule — a requirement where students must complete the course with grades of C or better — otherwise, they can’t move forward with their UCC.

FIU Students must also fulfill their Global Learning requirement, although this is more flexible as many courses that are labeled as GL can be used as an elective or are already part of the student’s departmental courses.

Normally, the first two years of college consist of completing the UCC; upon entering junior year, classes are more focused depending on the student’s major. However, there are departmental prerequisites for corequisites.

Another problem many students face is the fast-paced enrollment of classes before each term, which can prevent some students from taking their required courses, if they’re not timely with their planning.

These types of rules and situations are what students need to seriously consider while attending university and choosing their classes, adding more work and stress to an already heavy load of classes, homework and internships.

At PantherNOW, we encourage students to take one solution into consideration: meet with your advisors.

It may seem time-consuming or pointless for some, but meeting with an advisor can help clear up any questions you may have, provide meaningful advice, and create a cohesive plan to guide students throughout their college years.

There are some students who have never met with their advisors, which can set them up for failure in the long run. It should be a requirement for students to meet with their advisors to prevent any problems with enrollment and related issues, including not taking the appropriate prerequisite classes at the appropriate time.

Losing track of prerequisites and corequisites can destroy any plans a student may have for their post-graduation, especially if they’ve set their mind on graduating on a specific date.

And there’s nothing worse than losing out on a planned post-graduation vacation trip or a potential job because of a lingering prerequisite that hindered one’s progress.


Photo by Faustin Tuyambaze on Unsplash.

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