OPINION | Degree Audit Ensures Academic Success

Casey Wade, Staff Columnist

(Maggie Pasterz)

Many students are familiar with the anxiety associated with changing majors and the act of constantly checking their degree audits while creating their schedules. However, the degree audit can only soothe anxieties if students know how to effectively utilize it. The degree audit can be your greatest tool to make sure you are on track to finish your degree, but it can be difficult to navigate unless you spend a bit of time learning how to use it.

When you open the degree audit, the first thing you will see is a percentage that represents how close you are to fulfilling your graduation requirements. Then, the audit is divided into different sections for Newcomb-Tulane College’s core requirements and specific major requirements. Within these sections, there are lists of different types of requirements you have to meet, and if you have completed the requirement, there will be a check next to it.

 For example, Tulane students need to complete six credit hours of Historical and Textual Perspectives for the Newcomb-Tulane core requirements. Next to this section, the audit shows any courses that students have taken to fulfill this requirement and indicates how many credits are needed before the requirement is complete.

The degree audit helps students with class selection by including various class options that would fulfill a particular requirement. It lists the course numbers and titles that would count towards certain requirements. This course code can be entered into Gibson Online when creating a planner to see if there are available spots in these classes. 

The degree audit can still be useful before you have declared a major, and all underclassmen should play around with their “what if” feature. The “what if” feature allows students to see what courses they will have to take to complete different majors or minors.

The “look ahead” feature allows you to see a hypothetical version of your degree audit by submitting courses you plan to take in the future. This allows students to plan ahead and curate a schedule which will allow them to graduate on time. 

Many students may complain that their advisors have not helped them create an effective plan where some classes fulfill requirements. The degree audit can prove helpful in finding courses that fulfill multiple requirements. Many courses can count for multiple requirements if you know how to look for them. When you look at the degree audit you can see which requirements have not been completed, and then you can search for these classes in Gibson when creating your planner. 

The degree audit is extremely useful, but it is not utilized enough despite many students experiencing frustration when creating a schedule. While discussing her degree audit, Junior Olivia Barnes said, “Honestly, I get so frustrated and overwhelmed creating a schedule. I feel like I just have no idea where to even start. I have never used the degree audit, but I guess I should now.”

Students may not use the degree audit simply because they do not know how to use it or do not even know what the degree audit is. When asked for her opinion on the audit, “Wait, remind me what that is again,” sophomore Sydney Wade said. 

Advisors should push their students to explore their degree audits in order for students to be proactive about their schedules and relieve stress. Furthermore, all freshmen should be given a demonstration on how to use their audit effectively. This could be included in one of the many orientation sessions for new students at the beginning of the academic year. Helping students navigate their degree audit allows them to effectively plan their schedules and rely on themselves.

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