Chart Your Degree Better Than Degree Navigator | How to Maximize Academic Advising Appointments

When I first came to UBC, I was anxious trying to double check what high school credits transferred over, as well as what courses were available. I went to academic advising over the summer, which helped so much! New environments and new situations, like going to academic advising for the first time, can be overwhelming. Here are some tips that I have used to make the most of my academic advising appointments along my university journey.

Tip 1 – Write Out Questions

To set myself up for success, I like to plan out questions in advance. These are the questions I found really helped me out:

Major-related questions

  • How do I apply for a certain major?
  • Where do I find major requirements, and track the status, and eligibility (co-requisites, or pre-requisites)?
  • Where do I find data on the previous feedback of the courses and previous grades distribution?
  • What kind of courses should I take in a semester – whether it be a mixture of elective and core courses or a standard time table?

Course Capacity

  • How do I get on a course’s waiting list?
  • What is the likelihood of getting into a class from a waitlist? 

Transfer Credits

  • How do I apply for transfer credits and am I eligible (either from different educational institutions, or other courses)?
  • How do I get course registration approval?

Advisors don’t provide opinions on what courses to take except for clarifying what degree requirement a course may cover.

Tip 2 – Where to Go and When

For me, it was challenging to know the right time to communicate my goals and questions; communicating early and often, as well as in one sentence, helped my advisor cater resources to me. The following avenues helped me find specifics on requirements, booking advising appointments, and common helpful resources:

  1. Check out your faculty specific advising pages for information on how to book an appointment and more! 
  2. Use SSC: Finding ESP Advisor with Student Services
  3. Graduate, postgraduate, or other types of students: Forms or call 604 822 9836

Tip 3 – Take Notes

I found advising appointments overwhelming in terms of information, resources, and emotions. Using my laptop to take notes and track links was helpful since it’s not always guaranteed that you will meet with the same advisor every time. Taking notes really helped me feel less overwhelmed before, during and after my advising appointments since I knew what I wanted to bring up and could reflect on it after. This was a great way to reference back to resources, as well as to self-advocate from previous conversations I had with other academic advisors. 

Tip 4: Apply your knowledge and chart your degree

After talking to academic advising, I wanted to apply what I learned in the meetings. In SSC, I used the “worklist” function. This is a great tool to see how the courses for an upcoming semester may or may not fit together. 

Screenshot by India

Making a chart to apply the information I learned helped me visualize and organize the progression of my degree. Here is what mine looks like:

Photo by India

Planning and using UBC advising is a great resource (and the most official), but it’s not the only one. Remember to take advantage of all the “class advice” open to you including friends, the Chapman Learning Commons resources, students.ubc.ca and other web resources! Share your to-go resource in the comments below.

Year 1 Winter Term 1
What Requirement does it fulfill Course (credits) Status

Literature requirement 

(6 credits)

Literature requirement 

(6 credits)

ASIA XXX (3 credits)

Alternatives: 

ASIA XXX (3 credits), 

ASIA XXX (6 credits)

Completed

Research requirement 

(9 credits)

Research requirement

(9 credits)

POLI XXX (3 credits)

HIST XXX (6 credits)

Incomplete

Electives (12 credits)

Electives (12 credits)

ASIA 394 (3 credits)

ASIA 394 (3 credits)

Incomplete
Year 1 Winter Term 2 Year 1 Winter Term 2

Electives (3 credits)

Electives (3 credits)

GEOG XXX (3 credits)

GEOG XXX (3 credits)

Incomplete

Major Requirement

(12 credits)

Major Requirement

(12 credits)

FREN XXX (3 credits)

FREN XXX (3 credits)

Incomplete

 

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