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Planning course schedule for next semester causes stress for some UWRF students

Falcon News Service

November 18, 2015

Once the calendar turns to November, it is time for students at the UW-River Falls to start thinking about planning courses for the spring semester. Academic advising often comes up quick on students because the semester moves by at a rapid pace.

With the semester going by so fast, stress becomes a factor for freshmen and sophomores who have had little experience going through the advising and registration period.

Fifth-year senior Amanda Gemar had a lot stress of her own.

“I worried about whether or not I would be able to get into the General Education classes that I needed for my major,” Gemar said. “Sometimes there were classes that closed up, and I had to rearrange my plan.”

UWRF students do not have to plan their schedules on their own, as each freshman is assigned an academic advisor to assist in planning out future semesters.

Laura Boche is in her first year as the senior academic advisor for the College of Business and Economics. Boche advises about 350 freshman and sophomores who are in the lower division courses of the CBE, and the advising that she does begins well before November.

“I don’t really have an official start time, whereas the rest of the faculty started two weeks ago,” Boche said in a recent interview. “I advise students whenever I meet with them at the beginning of the semester, so then I can just send them their PIN number when it is time to register.” The number is a four-digit code that students need to gain access to the online registration system.

For first-year students, Boche makes sure to put a plan in place for future semesters.

“For first-year students that are in CBE 100, one of our required courses, we do advising in class when we do a long-term plan,” Boche said.

Boche said one of the key reasons why freshman and sophomores stress out during the advising and registration period is class availability.

One of her duties and goals as the senior academic advisor for the CBE is to make sure that her advisees have the best experience possible when registering.

“Usually when students are stressed, I try to figure out why the student is stressed,” Boche said. “If they’re stressed about registering for classes, because they’re afraid they’re not going to get into the class, that is something that I can help remedy.”

She also said students have to speak up and ask the right questions to avoid stressful situations.

According to Boche, the recent budget cuts have not affected underclassmen in the CBE. And according to Provost Fernando Delgado, the registrar’s office has not heard any complaints about limited classes.

What has changed, according to Delgado, is that class sizes have increased, so that students can still have the opportunity to take the classes they need to graduate.

Advising starts to wind down by the Thanksgiving recess, so students can get prepared for their final exams and projects.