Around this time of year, we in the ARC get a lot of calls about students’ schedules, courses, and majors; many of those calls come from concerned parents. To alleviate your concern, I’d like to make the process of scheduling for incoming freshmen a little more transparent for BU parents, and also touch on how this can affect rising students.
In the spring of the year, as incoming students confirm their college choices, the ARC gets copies of each one’s academic record and admissions information. Advisors Erica Osborne, Andrew Schroeder, and Dr. Catherine Sutton examine many elements of students’ unique profiles–academic background, interests, commuter or resident, athlete, choice of major, pre-requisites–in order to create schedules which are ideal for students needs. Students are then “pre-registered” in the campus system.
At SOAR, students see their schedules for the first time, meet with an advisor in the department of their major, and have the opportunity to discuss concerns or changes.
After each SOAR, Erica, Andrew, and Dr. Sutton review each schedule again to ensure that each student has the best schedule customized to fit his or her needs. I can’t stress this enough, folks. BU doesn’t just put your students in gen-eds and beginning courses in their majors and call it a day. Our advisors examine and analyze each student’s information. I sit here each day and watch it happen. They spend hours on it. In short, they do their best to create schedules that set students up for success. NOTE: There’s no such thing as the “perfect” schedule. Your student’s dream of avoiding 8am classes or scheduling all his/her classes on Tuesday/Thursday is and always will be just that: a dream. It’s the Holy Grail of college scheduling, much-desired, mythical, and yet to be found. If your student has a couple hours between classes, that’s a great time for him/her to camp out in the library to study or get active in a club. And those 11am classes that seem ideal for your “not a morning person” student, may actually be all the subliminal permission s/he needs to stay up until 4am and throw his/her sleep patterns all out of whack (which can generally be a steep downhill slope toward sickness, depression, procrastination…you get the picture).
While rising students can, essentially, choose their own schedules and are then expected to set registration appointments with their departmental advisors each semester, the ARC advisors can review their registration and make sure they’re on track to meet the requirements of their majors, as well as complete prequisites for graduate school. They can also offer insider information about which classes are best taken in tandem (or at different times), which electives complement certain majors, and how to work out internships, etc.
Certainly, your student’s college success is in his or her own hands, but the ARC takes seriously its reponsibility to help your student create a course schedule that is ideal for him or her.