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Learning How to Use Degree Navigator

September 30, 2011

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This is something pretty important for once you get into classes and stuff, and I wanted to explain it now so you have an idea of what to expect when you get the email and are confused as hell about it. You don’t have to worry about it now, you can probably log into it now to check it out, but remember and make note of this tip for the future.

There’s this website. It’s called degree navigator. It’s something students can go on to check their progress toward their degree. In other words, you log in, you type in the major you want, you can see what your liberal arts requirements are, and what your major requirements are. A lot of people who are sophomores/juniors don’t even know wtf it is, and that’s why I’m here!You don’t need to know this until school starts like I said, but at least now you’re familiar with it and can pass on the info.

Here’s how it works:
1. Go to the degree navigator (DN) website (http://nbdn.rutgers.edu/for NB students)

2. On the left side you’ll see where it says “student login”. Click that.

3.  You log in with your net ID and it brings you to this page and on the left hand side it’ll have this bar:

The “2 programs” or whatever programs you’re listed under will be the school you’re in and their liberal arts requirements. The other program will be your “matriculating” or undeclared major. In other words, if you’re in SAS, when you click on the 2 programs, it’ll look like this:

The part under that where it says “my planned courses” is where you wanna go in and pick the classes you’re taking this semester, and if you know any other classes you’ll be taking in the future. If you were to pick courses for them, you click that, click add courses, and in the keyword, type in the class you wanna look for. Once you find it, you click the course number, and clikc “add to planned courses”.

4. To actually USE this site, you’re gonna wanna make use of the search bar. When you search, you can search for majors, courses, or school core requirements. On the top right, you’re gonna see this bar:

Click search, then whatever you wanna look up.

5. **EX= Say for instance, I wanna research SEBS’s core requirements. I would click on “programs of study” after hovering over the search bar, and type in “SEBS”. It’ll come up looking like this:

6. You wanna click on the general education requirements, and then it’ll bring you to this page:

7. Basically, if you wanna navigate this page, you have to read it. It’ll tell you what classes you’ve completed, how many more you still need, and how many you WILL complete based on your planned courses.

To sum it up: This website is really good for you to keep track of how you’re progressing with your major. It’s good to be familiar with it your freshmen year, but it’s gonna be important toward the end of freshmen year when you start really getting into your major. No, I don’t think any of you will look at it now, and yeah, I expect you to be confused as hell, but just read all of my steps and it’ll make a little sense when the time comes.

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Don’t Expect to Get All The Classes You Chose on APA Day

September 30, 2011

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On APA day, you chose certain classes that you wanted to take. Just know that you might not end up with those classes. There are certain classes that are very popular and are only offered until they’re closed, so some people might get the classes, others may not. Don’t freak out if you don’t get the classes you want and you get ones that you really didn’t because come add/drop period, you can always try to add what you want. After being totally discouraged and scribbling classes I had no idea about, I didn’t get a class or two that I put on my paper at APA day. So don’t worry about it if you don’t, because even if you can’t get it online once classes start, you can always take it 2nd semester.

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Know Your General Education/Core Requirements

September 30, 2011

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So whether you’re in SEBS, Mason Gross, going for pharmacy, etc, you’re gonna have certain liberal arts requirements as well as classes for your major/minor. They’re different for every school. I remember one of the first days after move-in, every school I think had a general advising day for first-year students. I was still in SEBS so I was sitting in the middle of about 45 other prospective exercise science majors while our “advisor” talked about the program. It will be one of the most annoying things doing that when you know you’re gonna be transferring out of SEBS immediately. All of 1st semester, I was on google, emailing SAS advisors looking for SAS’s general education requirements. I’m glad I found it because that and the psychology major checklist put me on the right track when I went to pick my 2nd semester classes. So whether you don’t plan on transferring schools or you do, make sure you know what your liberal arts requirements are for the school you’re in. To make it a little easier, here are SEBS and SAS’s general requirements:

SEBS
-1 life science course
-6 credits (2 classes-ish) in humanities/the arts
-6 credits (2 classes) in multicultural/international studies
-9 credits (3 classes) in human behavior, political processes, and economic systems
-6 credits (2 classes) in oral/written communication (expos counts as 1 class)

SAS
**They changed/added some new requirements for first-year students as of Fall 2011 (THIS DOESN’T APPLY TO STUDENTS WHO ENTERED BEFORE 2011) It’s basically the same thing, except they’re grouped into 3 areas: 21st Century Challenges, Areas of Inquiry, and Cognitive Skills/Processes. (BTW, if you’re enrolled in a “signature course” it uses multiple requirements)**
-2 courses in 21st Century Challenges (basically like a diversity/global awareness)
-2 courses in natural sciences
-2 courses in social/historical analysis
-2 courses in arts and humanities (which is broken down into human experience, arts/literature, human languages, and critical creative expression)
-2 courses in writing/communication (expos counts as one)
-2 courses in quantitative/formal reasoning
-1 course in information technology/research
http://sasundergrad.rutgers.edu/academics/requirements/degree/distribution.html
^ this has SAS’s general requirements. It’s not updated yet to the information I gave you but that’s generally everything besides IT/research classes and others.

I know both Pharmacy and Engineering have humanities that they have to take, nursing has quite a few gen ed. electives that can be taken, and business I’m not sure about. Mason Gross I believe has a few requirements also.

To sum it up: Yeah, there’s not much you can do right NOW, but once you get your schedules, try to research what they count for so you know what requirements you’ll have completed.

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Take Care of Problems Head-On

September 29, 2011

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Since you’re paying for your education, if you have problems, don’t sit around waiting for them to solve themselves. If you’re confused about classes you have to take or you’re having serious issues in a class, talk to someone ASAP. Up until April, I was trying to figure out what to take for the psychology major since I wasn’t in SAS until a month ago. I didn’t wait until I got into the school, but instead I emailed a bunch of advisors, met with a few people, tried to figure it out that way, and I’m on track for the major. Even when it comes to classes, if you think you’re not doing well, talk to your professor. They’ll be able to help you out. It’s much better than just coasting and hoping for the best. Like I said, you’re paying a decent amount of money for tuition, so don’t waste it.

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Do What YOU Want to Do in College

September 29, 2011

13 Comments

Dwayne Hoover said it best…

I just had a conversation with my mom about my plans after graduation, since my dad wants me to be something more like a lawyer, rather than go for counseling or my ph.D like I want. My mom reassured me though that it’s my life and I gotta decide what the hell I want myself. So… as you go into college and you either know what you want or have no idea still, don’t worry. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, what anyone else WANTS you to do; do what makes you happy. It’s your life and what you’re gonna do with it is all on you, so don’t make your decision just because someone else wants you to do it. Now, granted… you have time. It’s not like you HAVE to know as soon as you get to Rutgers; you don’t. At all. When it comes time for you to decide, find what you’re interested in and go for it. I have friends who still have no idea what they wanna do and are still trying to decide. That’s okay. But when you figure it out, make sure it’s something you’re gonna be happy with. Whether that’s a ph.D or an artist or some type of scientist, whatever the hell it might be, go for it. It is your life.

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Talk to an Advisor

September 1, 2011

3 Comments

Now you all probably had your APA day already, and if you’re like me, you were confused as hell and COMPLETELY discouraged after it. My placement tests were eh. I got into expos but placed in elementary algebra, and before transferring to SAS and becoming a psych major, I was originally in SEBS going for exercise science. I had to place into calculus to take biology and blahblahblah. I was like “well damn, this sucks. I feel like I have no future waaaa.” This was me after APA day:

BUT! Things change. After I took general psych and took more psych classes like social psych and quant. methods, I realized I wanted to major in it.

So what do you do when you’re in my position? You email people. You talk to your advisor whenever you have concerns about your major, classes, etc. Email deans if you wanna transfer, email professors asking about classes. It’s as easy as that. They always get back to you. I’ve gone for open advising for the psych major and I wasn’t even an SAS student yet. Rutgers is very, very accommodating when it comes to classes and stuff. You just have to put forth the effort to make things happen. That’s the big difference between high school and college, and take it from an actual college student: in high school, they do everything for you. In college, you’re on your own. You need to figure out what you want and go for it. Don’t let that freak you out though, it’s not hard.

To sum it up: If you have questions, go to your advisor, and email who will answer them

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