UMaine CLAS Advising Center

Helping UMaine students achieve success. It's what we do.

Month: October, 2013

How Do I Add Or Drop A Class?

Since taking courses is the very basis of a college education, knowing how to add or drop classes is vitally important. In this post I’m going to go over how to use MaineStreet to add a class and then how to drop it.

The reality is that MaineStreet has provided multiple ways for you to add a course to your schedule. I am going to go over the simplest way, which is to use your Wish List. As I explained in a previous post, your Wish List is like a Shopping Cart for your desired courses, it keeps them in a central location for further usage. Once you have a course in your Wish List that you want to enroll in, and which you have already validated, you’ll simply put a check in the “Select” box and then click on “Enroll”. In this case, we are enrolling in HTY 103:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.48.21 AM

The final step is to click “Finish Enrolling”:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.48.40 AM

At this point, you should now see “Success” and you are enrolled in that course:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.48.55 AM

If you don’t see “Success”, then you need to look to see what prerequisite you are missing.

So adding a class is pretty simple. Dropping is too. Keep in mind, dropping a class using the method I’m about to discuss is only possible during the registration period up through the end of the second week of the semester where you are taking that course.

You can get to the drop dialogue from your Wish List, your Class Schedule, or the Search For Classes button. At the top of the screen you’ll see these options:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.49.18 AM

You’ll want to click on the “Enroll” tab. Then, click on “Drop” from the list under “Enroll”:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.49.28 AM

What you’ll see now is a list of classes that you are currently enrolled in. Click the “Select Box” of the course you want to drop and then click “Drop Selected Classes”:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.49.41 AM

Verify that this is indeed the class you want to drop and then click “Finish Dropping”:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.52.14 AM

You should get the “Success” message, showing that you removed the course from your schedule:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.52.26 AM

Bear in mind that you are only able to add a class during the Add Period, which runs from the time that your enrollment period begins (as listed on your Student Center in MaineStreet; see my video on MaineStreet for more information) until the end of the first week of classes. And you can only drop courses using MaineStreet from the time you added it until the end of the second week of classes. You can still drop or withdrawal from classes after the second week, but not through MaineStreet; you have to fill out an Add/Drop form (for CLAS students, that would be found in Student Services, Stevens Hall, Room 100).

Calendar for the Week of 10/28/13 to 11/3/13

Monday, October 28
Registration for Spring 2014 classes begins today, scheduled as follows:
Grad students – 7am
Seniors with 108+ credits – 7am
Seniors with 95+ credits – 11am

The Commuter & Non-Traditional Students Program is hosting Non-Traditional Student Week where they will be celebrating the over 1500 non-traditional students on campus. Come to Live ‘N Learn in the Bumps Room in the Memorial Union at noon for a talk on “Planning healthy inexpensive meals.” Light lunch is provided.

The Tutor Program is offering Drop-in Tutoring, located in the Tutor Program classroom on the first floor of the library (between the Research Consultation Area and the Writing Center classroom). Check out their website for more information and the full schedule.

Drop-in Tutoring for Monday:
8am-9am – CHY 121
9am-11am – FSN 101
11am-12pm – AST 109
12pm-1pm – POS 100
1pm-2pm – BUA 201/202
3pm-5pm – BMB 207
5pm-7pm – BIO 100
7:30pm-9pm – BUA 201/202

Every Monday during the semester the Department of Modern Languages and Classics offers the opportunity to practice conversations in other languages. It located in Little Hall, Room 207 and is open to anyone who wants to have conversations in the specific language.

12pm-1pm – French Table – Feel free to bring your lunch
1pm-2pm – Japanese Table – Feel free to bring your lunch
4pm-5pm – Chinese Table

Tuesday, October 29
Registration for Spring 2014 classes, scheduled as follows:
Seniors with 90+ credits – 7am
Seniors with 84+ credits – 11am

Non-Traditional Student Week. Come to Live ‘N Learn in the Bumps Room in the Memorial Union at noon for a talk on “Review of off-campus support services.” Light lunch is provided.

Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
8am-10am – Tutor Program – Study Skills Help Sessions
11am-1pm – COS 140
1pm-2pm – BUA 201/202
2pm-3pm – PSY 241/245
3pm-5pm – BIO 100
6pm-7:30pm – PSY 100

ML&C:
12pm-1pm – Russian Table – Bring your lunch and join in the conversations.

Wednesday, October 30
Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
10am-11am – SOC 101
11am-12pm – AST 109
12-pm-1pm – MAT 115
1pm-2pm – BUA 201/202
7:30pm-9pm – BUA 201/202

ML&C
12pm-1pm – German Table – Feel free to bring your lunch and join in the conversations.

Thursday, October 31
Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
8am-9am – CHY 121
9am-10am – MAT 126/127
10am-11am – SOC 101
1pm-2pm – BUA 201/202
2pm-3pm – MAT 115
3pm-5pm – BIO 100

Friday, November 1
Drop-in Tutoring for Friday:
9am-10am – PSY 100
10am-12pm – FSN 101
12pm-2pm – PHY 121/122

If other events turn up, we will be sure to update the calendar. Have a great week!

How to Use Your Wish List

Something that seems to confuse some students, especially new students, is the use of the Wish List in MaineStreet. I’ve had multiple students assume that putting a class in the Wish List is the same as enrolling in the class. It is not. Let me explain how it is designed to be used.

In one sense, the Wish List is the same as a Shopping Cart on an ecommerce site (like Amazon.com). You go through all the classes, figure out the ones you like or might be interested in, and then add them to your Wish List. This way you have all the classes you’d like to take in one place. How do you add them? Easy. There are two different places you can do that.

Let’s say I was looking at Psychology classes and wanted to add PSY 208 to my Wish List. From the search listing, I would see:
Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 12.51.20 PM
If you had clicked “View Details” to look at the more indepth information about the class and then decided you wanted to choose the class, you would see this at the top:
Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 12.51.35 PM
Again, you would click on the “Select Class” button.

In each of these cases, you are taken to the Class Preferences page, where you click the “Next” button. So the class is now in your Wish List. And like a Shopping Cart, you can just leave it there until you’re ready to enroll. But the Wish List has added functionality.

What it can do is validate the courses you have in the Wish List, so as to ensure that you have fulfilled the prerequisites necessary for taking each course. If you do this in advance, you can make sure that you will be able to actually enroll in the classes you have in your Wish List. To validate your Wish List, you put a check in the “Select” box to the left of the class information and then click the “Validate” button, as shown below:
Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 12.52.06 PM
This will bring up a dialog box that will inform you whether you are able to enroll. In the event that you are fail to meet the class requirements, you will be told why you can’t enroll. In the example below, validation fails because the student has yet to take PSY 100, which is a prerequisite for PSY 208:
Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 12.52.32 PM
Once you have validated your courses, they sit there safely in your Wish List until your enrollment date and time arrives and you are able to enroll in the classes.

Declaring Your Major or Minor: Policies and Procedures

A question we often get asked here in the Advising Center is: “When do I have to declare a major/minor?” And right behind that is: “How do I declare a major/minor?” Since I’ve already discussed how to choose a major or minor, here’s a quick primer on the policies and procedures for declaring.

The first question is fairly simple. All students at the University of Maine are required to declare a major by the time they have accumulated 54 credits, which means they have attained Junior standing. This does not mean that you are locked in to that major; you may still switch majors at will. But you will have an advisor in that department. The reasoning behind this is that the University does not want students to be Undecided by the time they are into their third year on campus.

The time frame for declaring a minor is much more open-ended. In the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts are required to have a minor. If that does not describe you (you are not in a CLAS major or pursuing a BS, BFA, or BME), you should check with your faculty advisor about your departments requirements. Generally speaking, though, a student simply needs to declare a minor prior to the end of the semester prior to expected graduation. Therefore, if you are looking to graduate in May, then you need to declare the minor before the end of Finals Week in April.

To actually declare the major or minor means filling out a form. There are many different versions of the Change of Program/Plan Sub-Plan form floating around campus. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences had this form on their website. However, if you go into the office to get a physical form, they have this one. Either form works and they all require basically the same information.

1) First you will fill out the top form with your information: your name, student ID, date of birth, and the current date. For your “Current Program (College)” just write in which college your current major is:

  • Liberal Arts & Sciences = LAS
  • Natural Sciences, Forestry & Agriculture = NSFA
  • Education & Human Development = EDHD
  • Business
  • Engineering

Also fill out your current major and minor. If you do not have a current major or minor, just mark it as None.

1a) “Signature of the Department Chair of the department student is leaving” is only required for students leaving the following programs: Foundations, Explorations, and Engineering.

2) Where it says “Change of Program (College)” fill in the college that the major is in. If you already have a declared a major and are just declaring a minor, then you can leave this blank.

3) For “Change of Plan (Major)” you will put in the major that you are declaring, if you are declaring one. If you already have a declared a major and are just declaring a minor, then you can leave this blank.

3a) “Signature of incoming Department Chair” is not required for LAS departments. If you are declaring a major in another college, check with that college’s requirements.

4) “Declare/Delete/Change subplan (concentration)” is for those majors that require a student to declare a specific concentration (such as Psychology) or for those that have voluntary subplans (such as Sociology). You just need to circle the appropriate action (declare, delete, or change). If this does not pertain to you or your major, you may leave it blank.

5) “Declare or Delete minor(s)”. Here is where you either name the minor you are adding or list the minor you are removing, whichever pertains to you. Again, you need to circle the appropriate action.

6) You need to obtain a signature of the chair of the department you are adding as your minor.

7) You only need to fill in the Double Major or Double Minor portion if you are declaring one or the other. If you are not, you may leave that blank. If you are, you just need to fill in the necessary information (same as needed above) and decide which is your primary and which is your secondary major.

8) After everything is filled out and signed, drop it off at the college office. For CLAS, that is Stevens Hall, Room 100.

How to Prepare for an Advising Period

The time to register for classes is fast approaching. That means that soon you will be required to meet with your advisor to talk about what classes you should be taking. Of course, if you have questions for your advisor, you shouldn’t be waiting to go talk to them, you should be going right away, while they have time. In this post, I’m going to go over some important steps to take in advance of an advising meeting.

An important thing to remember about the advising period is that your faculty advisor will be meeting with a large number of students in a short period of time, so your meetings will probably be short, often in the realm of 15 minutes. It behooves you, then, to be prepared when you get there. Spend a few minutes in advance so that you have more time to talk with your advisor about the important things, rather than spending the first 5-10 minutes just figuring out where you are with your general education requirements and your major and minor requirements.

Without further adieu, here are the 5 things to do before your meeting with an your advisor:

  1. First thing you need to do is make an appointment. This is generally pretty easy. If you are meeting with your faculty advisor, send them an email asking when you could meet. If you don’t hear back from them in a timely manner (1-2 days), stop by their office during their office hours. If you don’t know where their office is or what their office hours are, you can find that out from the administrative specialist in the department office. If you are meeting with one of us here in the CLAS Advising Center, you can make the appointment yourself, online, 24 hours a day. Every page on our website has a link at the bottom where you can make your appointment with the appropriate advisor (Amy Smith for students on academic probation, John Mascetta for undecided students, and Robert Hodges for transfer students).
  2. After you’ve scheduled the appointment, be sure to write down the date, time, and location. Put it on a calendar of your own. Or, use Google Calendar to keep track of the appointment. Every student on campus is provided with a Google account and Google Calendar is a very useful tool which can be set up to send you reminders in advance of any and all appointments.
  3. Now you want to fill out your General Education Worksheet and any worksheets that your major department provides. The best way to get all of your previous class information quickly and easily is to pull up your Degree Progress Report. The Degree Progress Report analyzes all of your classes and shows what requirements they fulfill, both for Gen-Eds and for your major and minor. Check out our earlier video on how to pull it up and use it to fill out your Gen-Ed Worksheet if you don’t know how.
  4. Make a list of questions you will ask your advisor. These questions can be as mundane as asking where the location of a department is or when you have to declare a major/minor, or they can be as complex as helping you map out a course plan. Everyone’s questions are different, so spend a little time to think up what questions you may have.
  5. The final “to do” is to show up on time for your appointment. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your advisors office. If you can’t make the appointment for some reason (and it should be a very good reason if you can’t make it), be sure to contact your advisor well in advance and let them know. Give them time to fill that slot up. The advising period is a very busy time for faculty, staff, and students. If you schedule an appointment and just simply don’t show up, you are being rude not just to your advisor but to your fellow students as well, one of whom may have been able to use that slot rather than have to use a later, less convenient time.

When you follow these five steps, you are bound to have a much better, more productive and informative advising meeting.

Calendar for the Week of 10/21/13 to 10/27/13

Monday, October 21

Signups for Small Group Tutoring at the Tutor Program is ongoing until Tuesday.  The Tutor Program is also offering Drop-in Tutoring, located in the Tutor Program classroom on the first floor of the library (between the Research Consultation Area and the Writing Center classroom).  Check out their website for more information and the full schedule.  

Drop-in Tutoring for Monday:
8am-9am – CHY 121
9am-11am – FSN 101
11am-12pm – AST 109
12pm-1pm – POS 100
1pm-2pm – BUA 201/202
3pm-5pm – BMB 207
5pm-7pm – BIO 100
7:30pm-9pm – BUA 201/202

Every Monday during the semester the Department of Modern Languages and Classics offers the opportunity to practice conversations in other languages.  It located in Little Hall, Room 207 and is open to anyone who wants to have conversations in the specific language.
12pm-1pm – French Table – Feel free to bring your lunch
1pm-2pm – Japanese Table – Feel free to bring your lunch
4pm-5pm – Chinese Table

Tuesday, October 22
Today is the final day to sign up for Small Group Tutoring. After today, only Drop-In Tutoring is available for those who have not signed up.

Drop-in Tutoring for Tuesday:
8am-10am – Tutor Program – Study Skills Help Sessions
11am-1pm – COS 140
1pm-2pm – BUA 201/202
2pm-3pm – PSY 241/245
3pm-5pm – BIO 100
6pm-7:30pm – PSY 100

ML&C:
12pm-1pm – Russian Table – Bring your lunch and join in the conversations

Wednesday, October 23
Drop-in Tutoring for Wednesday:
10am-11am – SOC 101
11am-12pm – AST 109
12-pm-1pm – MAT 115
1pm-2pm – BUA 201/202
7:30pm-9pm – BUA 201/202

ML&C
12pm-1pm – German Table – Feel free to bring your lunch and join in

Thursday, October 24
Drop-in Tutoring for Thursday:
8am-9am – CHY 121
9am-10am – MAT 126/127
10am-11am – SOC 101
1pm-2pm – BUA 201/202
2pm-3pm – MAT 115
3pm-5pm – BIO 100

Friday, October 25
Drop-in Tutoring for Friday:
9am-10am – PSY 100
10am-12pm – FSN 101
12pm-2pm – PHY 121/122

If other events turn up, we will be sure to update the calendar.  Have a great week!

Employing Interdependence on Campus

It seems that the word independence, in our culture, has taken on iconic status as THE ultimate goal for a successful life. The term interdependence is rarely bandied about so easily, as if relying on others for help is somehow a sign of failure. This is hardly the case; interdependence is not the same as dependence or co-dependence, rather it is a mutually supportive set of relationships and networks. Successful students usually find and strengthen their roles as students by creating supportive networks and giving and receiving help from their peers as well as turning to mentors, professors, and advisors for help. Conversely, struggling students often work alone and seldom cooperate with others as a team. Therefore, students should definitely develop mutually supportive relationships while at the university. It is true in college, as well as life, that no one gets where they are going alone.

Students that reach out and find support networks tend to do much better in the long run. While independence is a commendable quality and a definite step towards maturity, interdependence demonstrates an even greater sense of maturity. By employing interdependence students will maximize their success by seeking help from professors, librarians, academic advisors, counselors, community services, study groups, etc.

Some examples of how to employ interdependence here on campus are as follows:

  1. Get involved in or start your own study groups in your different classes. They are a great way to both get to know people in your classes and to help you get good grades.
  2. Are you confused about future courses to take or what career path you would like to follow? Connect with your advisor or make an appointment with someone in the Career Center.
  3. If you are having academic trouble, do not be afraid to reach out for help: go to the Tutor Program, talk to your professor, see an academic advisor, or network with other students in the class to form study groups.
  4. If you are having financial difficulty you may end up with a hold on your account and will not be able to register for future classes. Talk to someone at the Office of Financial Aid, as they are the most direct route to settling these matters.
  5. Do you feel as if personal problems are getting in the way of your studies? The Counseling Center offers initial meetings on a first come, first served basis Monday – Thursday between 1-3:30pm. Talking to someone is always a great way to alleviate stress and get some perspective on your situation, and it is FREE!
  6. Don’t be afraid to use the library! It is one of the largest in the state and it is staffed by some of the best reference librarians around. Get to know them and ask questions. When it comes to researching and writing, you will find that knowing your way around the library will be a great asset for you.
  7. Join a club or organization. There are myriad clubs here on campus from Active Minds to Yoga Club. Find one that suits you and get involved and get connected! For more information see Student Life Resources.

These are just a few suggestions for employing interdependence. The point is that you need to reach out and make connections. Find help if you need it, but offer help as well. One of your goals as an undergraduate is learning how to use your skills and knowledge to the best of your ability, but to also have the courage and the insight to ask for help when you need it.

Tip of the Week

Find your Registration Date under Enrollment Dates in your Student Center in MaineStreet.

Introduction to MaineStreet: How to Search for Classes

This video demonstrates how to use MaineStreet to search for classes at UMaine.

What Are Your General Education Requirements?

Every undergraduate student on campus, regardless of college or major, is required to fulfill specific General Education requirements. Interestingly, many students have a very limited understanding as to what these requirements are. So today we’ll go over the purpose of your Gen-Eds and what they are. For easy reference, you can also watch our video on General Education Requirements.

Students often wonder what the purpose of General Education courses are. Why should a student majoring in Chemistry have to take an art course? Or why should a History major have to take a math course? After all, these General Education courses often seem far removed from the courses for one’s major or minor. In a very real sense, though, that is the point. According to the Undergraduate Catalog, “every University of Maine academic program is based upon a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences. The University’s goal is to ensure that all of its graduates, regardless of the academic major they pursued, are broadly educated persons who can appreciate the achievements of civilization, understand the tensions within it, and contribute to resolving them.” To put it more simply, the point of an education is not to give you a vocation, it is to give you a broader world view, to help you understand the world around you and show you how interconnected everything is. This broader perspective will allow you to become a much more critical thinker and to become much more analytical, something very different from any vocational training.

So, what are the General Education requirements? There are six categories of Gen-Eds, and though there is some overlap, they are each different aspects of a liberal arts & sciences education. A full list of courses that fulfill each category can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog. The categories are:

1) Ethics. Students must take a minimum of one class that explores ethical issues, discussing society’s conceptions of right and wrong on a moral continuum.

2) Human Values and Social Context. This particular category requires 18 credits and has five subcategories, each of which much be satisfied. While some classes can fulfill multiple subcategories, they only count towards the 18 credit requirement once. The subcategories are:

  • Western Cultural Tradition – These classes explore western thought and ideology from its earliest foundations through its evolution into our present culture.

  • Social Context & Institutions – These courses explore societies on a larger, more global scale, allowing them and their constituent parts to be viewed in context with and/or in juxtaposition of other societies.

  • Cultural Diversity & International Perspectives – These classes expose students to cultures and ideas beyond our own.

  • Population & The Environment – These courses explore the interplay between man and the environment, his influence on the environment and how it influences him.

  • Artistic & Creative Expression – These are classes that require artistic or creative output of some sort, and they range from traditional art courses to writing to theatre or dance.

3) Mathematics. Students must take two courses that are grounded in mathematics, which can include statistics or computer science. Though there are multiple Computer Science courses that fulfill the math requirement, only one may be used for that purpose.

4) Sciences. Students are required to take two biological or physical science courses. One of these classes must have a laboratory component. The other can have a lab component, but it is not required.

5) Writing Competency. It is commonly accepted that good writing is the hallmark of an educated individual. The University of Maine thus requires extensive writing throughout most of its undergraduate programs. As such, all students must take ENG 101, College Composition, plus two writing intensive courses. One of these writing intensive courses must be within your major, and as such, each major has at least one writing intensive course. The second writing intensive course can be chosen from any field.

6) Capstone Experience. Every program contains a capstone experience. The output of this experience is a project that draws together all that the student has learned in their major and would be representative of the work that a professional in that field would do. It is the culmination of the student’s undergraduate career and is typically done during the senior year.

The Office of Student Records website provides a worksheet that lists the different requirements and gives you a place to fill in the courses that you’ve taken. We strongly recommend that you keep up-to-date on where you are in terms of fulfilling each of these requirements. There is little worse than finding on the eve of graduation that you are one Gen-Ed shy of actually being finished.