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Student Responsibilities for Advising


How do you prepare for each advising appointment?

  • You are strongly encouraged to review the PAWS system and take the PAWS Student Center Tutorial, if you have not yet done so: http://www.tcnj.edu/~it/paws/students.html.
  • Check your unofficial transcript and/or the Transfer Credit link to make sure that all your AP and college credit courses are correctly posted.
  • Check out the “What if Scenario” feature in PAWS (Academic Records/My Course History/Academics/What if Scenario) if you want to see how the courses you have taken thus far apply to your prospective major. If you are in a major and are thinking of adding a second major, or an Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor, you are strongly encouraged to run a What If Report and obtain the requirements for all intended programs prior to meeting with your advisor.
  • Prepare one or more tentative schedule by using the “SHOPPING CART” feature. Then bring a printed copy of your shopping cart with you. Make sure you check PAWS prior to your one-on-one advising appointment to verify that the courses you want are still open.
  • Check out the Liberal Learning Approved Courses List to review courses you may want to take to fulfill your Liberal Learning requirements. (http://www.tcnj.edu/~liberal/courses/index.html)

Responsibilities by Year

 Here are your responsibilities according to the HSS Academic Advising Policy

  1. To develop a program plan with liberal arts breadth and depth that may change over time as they discover new interests and passions but still leads to graduation in a timely manner;
  2. To participate actively in planning their education, setting and meeting goals;
  3. To prepare for advising appointments as instructed by their faculty advisors;
  4. To develop resourcefulness by seeking, identifying and appropriately using resources, beyond their faculty advisor, for guidance on academic and career matters; and
  5. To develop self-ownership of their education by learning to make fully informed choices and take responsibility for their decisions.

Please see below for a detailed list of items associated with year academic year.

First Year

By the first registration in August:

  •  Know how to read and use the course schedule and academics features of PAWS, such as your Academic Requirements Report, Transfer Credit Report to view your SAT scores, AP test scores and placement test scores.
  • Register for a good liberal arts program of study
  • Register for courses in a manner that keeps open several different possible majors
  • Know the drop/add days and how to drop or add a course
  • Know the basic requirements for graduation
  • Identify one or two places to engage on campus outside the classroom

By pre-registration in the fall for spring semester of your first year:

  •  Be a more sophisticated user of PAWS, including the Academic Requirements Report feature, the What-if Report and Summary Sheets for your program of study. Consider courses that will constitute a good liberal arts program of study that keeps open several different possible majors
  • Consider what skills you want to develop further while at TCNJ and work those into your next set of courses
  • Write a (very tentative!) four-year plan, so you are aware of how a choice of major affects other course choices and how a TCNJ major maps out over eight semesters. Take advantage of the “My Planner” feature on PAWS.
  • Consider a semester of off-campus study as part of your plan and determine how you might fit that into your four-year plan.
  • Be able to articulate what your next summer could look like. What experiences do you want to have?  Do you want to do an internship?  If you can’t afford an unpaid internship, what can you do to gain experience that builds on your interests
  • Know how to look up your grades through PAWS

By pre-registration in the spring for fall semester of 2nd year:

  •  Each semester get to know at least one faculty or staff member well. You should cultivate these relationships.  You’ll learn a lot from them, and they may eventually serve as references for you.
  • Consider areas to explore that will help you continue to solidify a choice of major.
  • Consider what skills you want to develop further while at TCNJ and work those into your next set of courses
  • Re-write your four-year plan
  • Consider a semester of off-campus study as part of your plan and determine how you might fit that into your four-year plan
  • Realize that things will change during your sophomore year; academics, social life, extracurricular involvements can be very different. Students often don’t realize how fast and profoundly things will change.  For example, academic rigor will increase, so get a firm grasp now of good study habits.  Significant decisions will soon be upon you, too: choosing a major, forming an academic plan, study abroad, internships; all of these take a significant amount of time.
  • Begin earnest conversations about choosing a major (and other “big” questions), if you are an Open Option student. Students frequently make the leap from a particular major choice to “What will I do for the rest of my life?”, but may not share their fear openly. Any choice of major allows plenty of opportunities upon graduation, but you should explore those by talking with me, other faculty, and getting assistance at the Office of Career Center. Visit the Office of Career Center a few times.  This can include learning about shadowing opportunities, volunteer experiences, jobs and/or internships next summer.  Write or update your resume, and learn how to research opportunities.  Then apply!

Second Year

  • Consider areas of study to explore that will help you to solidify a choice of major. (change? See note above)
  • Consider what skills you want to develop further while at TCNJ and work those into your next set of courses
  • Plan for off-campus study, if this interests you. Attend an informational meeting and research specific programs; apply by the mid-year deadline. The application process is involved and requires that you plan for a major in advance, so allow enough time.
  • Re-write your four-year plan while consulting with me
  • Think about the particular elements that you might want to include in a four-year plan, such as increasingly advanced work in an area that may lead to a senior thesis
  • Work with the staff at the Office of Career Center and/or faculty in your major department to plan for an internship or research experience this summer

Third Year

  • Examine the coherence of your studies (both with and without your major courses) and make adjustments that will both challenge you and help you meet your goals
  • Create a partnership with a staff member at the Office of Career Center. Revise your resume and learn to network
  • Pursue next steps in your career exploration such as an internship or focused work experience
  • Determine when you will take the GRE, LSAT, or MCAT if you think you may be headed to graduate or professional school

Fourth Year

  • (Re)imagine your life after you leave TCNJ. Explore with whom you can talk, besides your adviser, to help you to plan concretely for this transition
  • Enhance your partnership with the staff at the Office of Career Services to revise your resume specifically, to network, and to pursue next career steps
  • Schedule to take the GRE, LSAT, or MCAT if you are headed to graduate or professional school
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