Nov 082007
Authors: Madlyn D’Andrea

As Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Taking charge of your life begins with the simplest of tasks. Meeting with your advisor early and often is a good start.

How can you get the most out of your advising experience for registration? Passively waiting for direction from your advisor may possibly get you through your college experience, but isn’t the best plan. Think of your advisor as your coach, your campus resource person. But do your homework and be prepared when you meet with them.

Take some time to reflect on your college adventure.

First of all, are you happy with your major?

Have you explored the 68 majors, 48 minors and 18 interdisciplinary studies programs offered at CSU?

Students can feel overwhelmed by all of the choices and commonly choose one without much investigation. For instance, I have often heard students say that they are interested in business because it is a good, general major. It may be a good major, but certainly, not general.

Take the time to explore what classes the major involves and what occupations are possible, as well as how future jobs fit your values and lifestyle.

Remember that you can enhance your major (and career opportunities) with a variety of minors or interdisciplinary programs. Advisors at the Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA) or counselors at the Career Center are good resources for major exploration.

How do you figure out what classes to register for?

You’ve probably noticed by now that everything you need to know is online (or, if you prefer, a hard copy of the General Catalog still exists). In fact, even though out-of-sight may be out-of-mind, it is your responsibility to check out the various Web sites that list all of the University policies, departments and resources.

Tour the CSU website and ask your advisor for help if you need it.

Each department lists the courses required for their various majors, and you can find All-University Core Curriculum information at If you want to see how your courses fit your major or explore how they might work with other majors, check out the degree audit system (DARS) on your RAMweb.

What is an elective and where do you find one?

Most majors allow room for students to take courses of their own choosing (check with your academic advisor). This opportunity allows you to explore new ideas, expand your critical thinking skills, take courses for skill development or just for fun.

How do you choose an elective? Peruse the class schedule, ask your friends for suggestions, talk with your favorite instructor or RA and, of course, ask your advisor.

When you’ve explored all of your course possibilities, make a list of potential classes to bring to your advising meeting and discuss. It is also a good idea to complete a tentative four-year plan so that there won’t be any surprises about your graduation date.

After course selection you might want to reflect on your past semesters.

Have you gotten the most out of your academic experience? Have you done as well as you thought you would do, or do you need to check out campus resources? Have you developed good time management skills around academics, work, health and social activities? Have you become actively engaged on campus or do you need to reach out more next semester?

What kind of course load and work load works best for you? Consider these questions and more, and seek out the expertise of your advisor for resources and suggestions.

To find your academic advisor, check your RAMweb, or call your academic department. Good luck with registration planning and if you have any questions, please call a CASA advisor at (970) 491-7095.

Madlyn D’Andrea is the assistant director for the Center for Advising and Student Achievement. CASA writes a column occasionally for the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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