Graduation Can Be Confusing; Academic Advisers Are Here to Help


Brooklyn Dennison

Terry Vance and Sophie Kus, advisers at the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences

By Brooklyn Dennison, Editor-in-Chief

Graduating can be a difficult task as it is a transition from the academic world to the professional world.

However, advisers from the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Akron have some advice on how to graduate smoothly and avoid barriers.

For students beginning to prepare for graduation, the first step is to review their DPR, Terry Vance, an academic adviser for BCAS, said.

The DPR, or Degree Progress Report, is meant to assist students to keep track of their progress in college. After reviewing the DPR, Vance said, advisers will tell students what the deadline to apply for graduation is.

Although the DPR can be confusing, Vance said, advisers will work with students to understand the report by going over it with them line-by-line.

If a student happens to miss a deadline, the Dean’s office of the student’s respective college will send out a discrepancy report to make the student aware of they are missing, Sophie Kus, an academic adviser for BCAS, said.

The discrepancy reports help students be aware of time frames and allow them to visit their adviser if they need help, Kus said.

One reason a student could receive a discrepancy report is if he or she misses their online graduation application deadline. If that is the case, the student would be able to fill out a late graduation application from their adviser, Kus said, which would still allow the student to graduate on time.

Along with working with students one-on-one, Kus and Vance also collaborate with others such as Mary Cooke, career services collaborator, and adviser Gayle Bruno on events to prepare students to graduate.

An upcoming event is the “College of Arts and Sciences, Get Ready for Graduation Event” for seniors on March 15 in the BCAS atrium from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Although Vance and Kus reassure that advisers are always available to help, there are things students should do on their own to prepare as well.  

Kus recommends to keep an end date in mind and make plans with your adviser around that date. Kus also said to tie any loose ends by taking care of academic and financial holds that would otherwise withhold a student from graduating. Holds are one barrier to graduation that is easy to resolve Kus said.

Vance added that it’s never too late to make a résumé, find internships and get involved on campus as all of these would supplement a student’s college experience.

Although once broken down, graduation seems easy. But there are some obstacles that could set students back. These, along with holds, include personal, academic and financial barriers, Kus said.

Kus said that when those barriers arise, advisers will work with students to refer them to the right resources, such as ZipAssist, and guide them in the next steps that they need to take.

Once a student is set to graduate, an adviser will direct them to Career Services where a career coordinator will discuss career and graduate school opportunities with them. Career Services has locations on the second floor of the Taber Student Union and in room 126 of BCAS.

Graduation should be exciting, Kus said, it’s a celebration for all your hard work.

“Stay calm and embrace change. Transitioning from an academic setting to the world of work is daunting yet challenging. To guide you through it – be prepared, informed and utilize all your campus resources such as academic advising, the Career Center and Student Services,” Kus said.